The drawbacks and potential benefits of infant circumcision are now being publicly debated in Israel, the consequence of a pending High Court case there. I wrote about some of the ethical issues last week. The unusual case stems from a rabbinical court ruling where a mother was ordered to circumcise her nearly one-year-old son or face fines.
While some might assume that circumcision for the eight-day-old boy is an absolute in Israel, more Jewish people are questioning, and rejecting, the necessity of the rite. In researching this case, I spoke with Israeli ethicist Carmel Shalev of Haifa University Faculty of Law. She indicated to me that there is awareness in her country of the arguments against the practice.
Israeli circumcision critic Eran Sadeh (featured in the above news broadcast) has been working hard to educate Jewish people in Israel about the downsides to foreskin removal. He is the founder of the Israeli group Gonnen Al Hayeled (Protect the Child) and he is also a Beyond the Bris contributing writer. There can be no doubt that Sadeh’s advocacy is playing a large role in getting Israeli parents to think critically about this once universally accepted tradition.
It is important to note that there is absolutely no legal requirement in Israel that a child be circumcised. The controversial ruling in this case came as part of a divorce proceeding where the father demanded that his son be circumcised. It is also unlikely the ruling will be upheld, and the High Court has already issued injunctive relief to the mother while the case is being decided.
Eran is a modern, courageous parent and a compassionate man who puts humanity and the rights of the child before tradition and love him for it.
If I have to leave the decision to my son to be circumcised or not, as Eran Sadeh asserts, then I should also leave the decision to him as to which school he should attend, which food he should eat, etc. If he likes ice cream and is allergic to milk, what right do I have to interfere with his diet? let his eat what he likes. But I don't leave it to him. Decisions that are important for his life are in my hands. Parents do decide for their children, and Eran has decided not to circumcise his son. Fair enough. But he cannot use the excuse that the choice is his son's, otherwise he must let he act and do as he wishes.
This is INSANE; comparing the UN-NECESSARY CUTTING OFF OF THE MOST SENSITIVE PART OF A NEWBORN BABY'S PENIS with food allergies is PATHETIC AND INSANE!!
HOW do you justify making such an impossible comparison??!!?? It's DISGUSTING!!
Not only is this an insane comparison, it is also highly illogical. The whole issue of whether or not to circumcise is about maintaining bodily integrity of a newborn; not only bodily integrity, but also emotional integrity; it is about PROTECTING the newborn; it is about NOT inflicting UN-necessary HARM on a newborn baby, until he is old enough to decide whether or not he want to have this SPECIFIC procedure performed on himself.
If a small child shows "symptoms" of food allergies, we follow up on that and ensure the child's well-being.
If a newborn infant shows "symptoms" of NEEDING a circumcision in order to ensure the child's well-being, it would be negligent not to consider it.
If a newborn infant show NO "symptoms" of medically needing to have ANY part of his/her body chopped off, we LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE.
It's really very simple!