Circumcision Not Matter for Rabbinical Courts, Israel's High Court Rules

Israeli Mother Opposes Circumcision for Young Son


Today Israel’s High Court of Justice issued an unprecedented ruling—rabbinical courts in that country no longer have the authority to determine whether boys will be circumcised should divorcing parents disagree on the matter.
The 6-1 vote in favor of stripping the rabbinical court’s power, means the disputed circumcision of a child is no longer a divorce issue. To the extent that such issues arise, they will now be handled in family court and will be subject to a best-interests-of-the-child test.

The matter came to the High Court of Justice after a rabbinical court ordered a then one-year-old boy to be circumcised as part of a divorce proceeding. His mother, pictured above, is opposed to circumcision due to the pain of the procedure and it’s potential for complications.

Following today's ruling the mother stated: “Social pressure is no reason to force cutting my son’s body as nature, the universe naturally created him.”

This case has implications far beyond circumcision. It means that rabbinical courts in Israel have lost a degree of power; however, the decision comes as no surprise to lawyers there. Last December Carmel Shalev, an Israeli ethicist and human rights lawyer, told Beyond the Bris that the High Court of Justice would likely rule that the rabbinical court didn’t have the authority to force anyone to perform a circumcision.

1 comment:

  1. roger desmoulinsJune 29, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    This is a stunning victory.

    But it ain't over till it's over. "To the extent that such issues arise, they will now be handled in family court and will be subject to a best-interests-of-the-child test."
    Will the boy's father start fresh legal proceedings in Family Court?

    1-2 months ago, someone I barely know commented in FB that after the USA, the cutting edge of intactivism is now Israel. Here's why I suspect that that is correct. I have been saying for 40 years that brit milah is incompatible with gender equality in Judaism. Once I understood, years later, that circumcision detracts from the experience of sex, then I saw that bris is incompatible with the Jewish avowed warmth to marital sex, and its de facto tolerance of premarital sex. Secular Israelis feel less need to circumcise their boys, because they feel fully Jewish by virtue of their passports and language. I have noticed that the blogs of the Israeli English language press are more polite to intactivism than the typical American newspaper article and Fox News program.