Mother ordered to pay NS 3,500 fine plus NS 500 (shekels) each day unless she performs circumcision.
“If the issue of circumcision is left to every individual to decide, how will the rest of the world view this?” rabbis say.
Case appealed to High Court.
By Nitzi Yakov
A woman who refused to have her newborn circumcised will have to pay a 3,500-shekel ($987) fine, the Netanya Rabbinical Court ruled this week. The court said the penalty would be waived if her child undergoes circumcision within one week. Failure to comply beyond that deadline would result in an additional 500 shekel ($141) charge per day.
Is circumcision mandatory for all Jewish boys? Rabbinical courts apparently think so – Photo: Lior Mizrahi
The woman, a resident of Netanya, said her refusal stems from health concerns and because she does not want to physically harm her baby, who was born a year ago. The ruling was handed down after the father, who has insisted the baby undergoes circumcision, petitioned the rabbinical court. The parents are planning to get a divorce.
“This matter lies within our purview because the minor’s educational experience will be defined by the decision on circumcision,” the rabbinical judges wrote in their ruling. “The woman’s assertion that circumcision has no relation to the child’s upbringing is both flawed and unacceptable.”
In Israel, rabbinical courts are entrusted with the marriage and divorce of Jewish couples. As such, they can rule on a wide range of issues when they hear a case.
The woman appealed to the Great Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem but the court refused to overturn the lower court’s ruling. “If the issue of circumcision is now left to every individual to decide, how will the rest of the world view this? It would be unthinkable to have authority in this matter stripped from the rabbinical sages of the people of Israel.”
The woman took to her Facebook page on Tuesday, lashing out at the ruling. “Having studied the matter, I have resolved not to cut my son!!! He is a helpless baby. He has his own say on his body; I don’t.”
The mother plans to petition the High Court of Justice with the help of her attorney Marcella Wolf. “We will challenge the authority of the rabbinical court,” Wolf said on Tuesday. “We believe it had no authority deliberating on a familial disagreement over the circumcision of a boy, particularly when the boy is a 1-year-old, well beyond the age of 8 days [when circumcision is traditionally performed under Jewish law],” Wolf said.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=13625
NOTE: The first court said the wife was using the Brit (ritual ceremony) as leverage in what appears to be an ugly divorce.