(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Progress Party in Norway voted on Saturday in favor of a law banning ritual circumcision of children under the age of 16, a day after the environment committee of Belgium’s Parliament of Wallonia voted in favor of banning ritual slaughter, posing a threat to both shechita (kosher slaughter) and brit mila (circumcision) in Europe.
Proponents of the Norwegian bill, which was discussed during the party’s national gathering over the weekend, claim that circumcision constitutes mental and physical harm to children and constitutes a serious violation of children’s rights. The Progress Party is the third-largest party – with 29 of 169 seats in parliament it serves as the junior partner in Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s cabinet.
Reacting to the news, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett calling on them to urgently establish a joint working team for both government offices and Jewish organizations in Europe, in order to prevent the spread of anti-Jewish legislation.
“I have no doubt that the State of Israel – the state of the Jewish people – cannot remain indifferent to it, and I call on you to exert all your political influence in order to prevent the exclusion of Jews from life in various European countries.”
Regarding the Norwegian bill, Margolin said: “We will act in every way we can to fight this disgraceful bill... There is no doubt that this is an anti-Jewish decision that is blatantly antisemitic, because the bill does not harm Muslims who are not obligated to circumcise their children as infants and can perform the procedure even at an older ages as the bill allows.”