Rabbinical court fines woman NIS 500/day until she agrees to circumcise her son

Court stated that the mother was refusing to have the boy circumcised as a tactic in her desire to reconcile with her husband.

November 27, 2013 17:45
2 minute read.
An infant child.

baby drinking from bottle 521. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Supreme Rabbinical Court for Appeals in Jerusalem has upheld a ruling demanding that a mother pay NIS 500 every day until she agrees to have her son circumcised.

Back in October, a regional rabbinical court ruled that the father of the child was permitted to have the boy circumcised despite the mother’s objections.

The child is now one year old and was not given a circumcision eight days after being born, in accordance with Jewish law, due to medical problems.

The couple subsequently decided to divorce and the dispute over circumcising the boy developed following that decision.

The panel of three rabbinical judges of the Supreme Rabbinical Court said in their decision on Monday that the mother was objecting to the procedure as a way of gaining better terms in the divorce settlement and dismissed her appeal.

They also stated that they believed the mother was refusing to have the boy circumcised as a tactic in her desire to reconcile with her husband, and the judges declared that such an objection would not assist her in this goal.

“It seems that the will of the woman in preventing the circumcision is connected to trying to force [her] husband to [agree to] her claim for reconciliation,” the rabbinical judges wrote, saying however that this “will certainly distance the husband from wanting reconciliation.”

The mother said, however, that after looking into the matter she decided she did not want the boy to be circumcised on ethical grounds.

“I don’t have the right to cut his genitals and wound him, and the rabbinical court does not have the right to force me to,” she told Channel 2 news.

She added that she would not pay the fine and did not have the means to do so either.

The rabbinical judges said that if she was concerned about medical issues, they would order the circumcision to be done in the presence of medical experts.

“The general public which does not observe Jewish law does not even think about fighting on this issue,” the judges wrote in their decision.

“The Jewish people have always and will always see in the brit mila [circumcision] the completion of the act of creation,” they continued.

In addition, they pointed out that it would be socially disadvantageous for the child not to be circumcised and also noted that the mother’s position could complicate Jewish divorce procedures even further.

“Until now, the rabbinical courts have not experienced an objection in principle to the performance of circumcision as part of a divorce battle, and if an opening is made here and the mother is given the opportunity to prevent the circumcision or to use her objection as a way to obtain things in the divorce settlement, we will likely find ourselves facing an outbreak of such cases, and then another dimension will be added to the [already] frightening divorce process. This trend must be stopped immediately, since the common good outweighs that of the individual,” the rabbis wrote.

The mother intends to appeal the case to the High Court of Justice.

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