Israel asks Council of Europe to rescind male-circumcision resolution

By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH  |  Oct. 7, 2013 at 6:03 AM
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres called on the Council of Europe to reconsider a resolution against male circumcision in Europe.

"I was sorry to hear of the recent resolution stated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the issue of the ritual of male circumcision practiced by Jewish and Muslim communities," Peres said in a letter Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the council's secretary-general.

Details of the letter were released by Peres' office.

"The ritual of male circumcision has been practiced by Jewish communities for thousands of years and is a fundamental element of our tradition and obligation as Jews," Peres said. "The Jewish communities across Europe would be greatly afflicted to see their cultural and religious freedom impeded upon by the Council of Europe, an institution devoted to the protection of these very rights. I therefore urge members of this distinguished assembly to reconsider this resolution."

Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the resolution and called on the council to immediately rescind it, Haaretz reported.

The resolution, approved Tuesday, calls male ritual circumcision a "violation of the physical integrity of children," Haaretz said.

The council, a pan-European intergovernmental organization, calls on member states to "clearly define the medical, sanitary and other conditions to be ensured for practices such as the non-medically justified circumcision of young boys," Haaretz said. It also asks them to "adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted," the report said.

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