Israeli Pediatrics: End controversial circumcision rite

By JTA
August 12, 2012 16:50

JERUSALEM -- The Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association is calling for an end to a controversial circumcision-related rite that is also under fire in New York.

The IAPA said that direct oral-genital suction, known as metzitzah b'peh, should not be performed during Jewish ritual circumcision. It is calling on Israel’s Health Ministry to require maternity wards and clinics to advise parents against metzitzah b’peh, Israeli media are reporting.

The rite is not used in most Jewish circumcision ceremonies, but many in the haredi Orthodox community still adhere to it.

Health Department investigations of newborns with the herpes virus from 2000 to 2011 have shown that 11 infants contracted the herpes virus when mohels placed their mouths directly on the child’s circumcision wound to draw blood away from the circumcision cut, according to a statement from the department. Ten of the infants were hospitalized, at least two developed brain damage and two babies died.


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