An Israeli woman has been sentenced to paying $140 per day for refusing to circumcise her one year old son until the boy undergoes the procedure as required by Jewish law.
“The baby was born with a medical problem, so we couldn’t
circumcise him on the eighth day as is customary,” Haaretz
has quoted the boy’s mother Elinor as saying.
The boy is now over one year old.
“As time went on, I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son. He’s perfect just as he is,” the mother said.
However, Jerusalem court judges suspected that the mother could be withholding the procedure “as a tool to make headway in [her] divorce struggle,” according to the newspaper. The case has also shed light on what judges say is widespread discrimination against the Jewish custom.
On October, 29 a Netanya rabbinical court – a part of the country's justice system that oversees matters of religion, including marriage and divorce in cases of country's Jewish citizens - ruled the mother must have her son circumcised within a week after Elinor’s husband demanded that the procedure take place.
According to the woman, the baby’s father initially supported the decision to not circumcise the boy, but as they began discussing their divorce in the rabbinical court, he unexpectedly changed his mind.
“Circumcision is a standard surgical procedure that is performed on every Jewish baby boy, so when one of the parents demands it, the other cannot delay it except where it is proven to be medically dangerous,” said the judges, Rabbis Michael Amos, Shneur Pardes and Ariel Yannai, according to Haaretz.
The woman’s lawyer argued that the rabbinical court had no authority to compel her to circumcise her son.
“I have no right to cut his organ and mutilate him. And the court has no right to force me to do so,” the woman reportedly told Channel 2 News on Monday evening.
The woman appealed the decision to a higher rabbinical court, but was denied that appeal on Sunday. The court also left in place the $140 fine that she is obligated to pay for every day that her son remains uncircumcised.
“If the mother is given the opportunity to prevent the circumcision or use her objection [to the procedure] as a tool to make headway in the divorce struggle, we could find ourselves facing a flood of cases like these, and then divorce proceedings will take on a terrifying dimension,” the judges, rabbis Tzion Boaron, Masoud Elhadad and Shmuel Shahor, said.
“This trend must be stopped immediately for the common good, which takes precedence over that of the individual,” they added.
The fine has so far reached over $700.
“I don’t have the means; I’m not working,” the woman told a local TV channel, according to The Times of Israel.
Now the woman plans to appeal to the High Court of Justice to annul the rabbinical court's decision.
During the recent hearing, the court also addressed current anti-circumcision sentiments around the world, particularly in Europe and the US.
“We have been seeing public and legal fights against circumcision in the United States and Europe for quite some time,” they said, adding that the people of Israel stand “united against this phenomenon” and see it “as another aspect of the anti-Semitic acts that must be fought."