Israel Update

Banning Circumcision: The Strangest Weapon Yet Against the Children of Israel

by Shira Sorko-Ram

Shira---Circumcision.jpg
The Brit Mila (circumcision) of Sela Ferguson, son of Shani and Kobi Ferguson, grandson of Shira and Ari Sorko-Ram.


 

What could be more bizarre than a religious ritual that circumcises a baby eight days old? Nothing, as far as a German judge in Cologne is concerned who recently declared that circumcision (brit milah in Hebrew) is “a violation of physical integrity” and as such is a criminal act. The judge went on to say that “the child’s body is permanently and irreparably changed by the circumcision.” This change, opined the judge, “conflicts with the child’s interest of later being able to make his own decision on his religious affiliation.”

One could suppose this assault on circumcision came out of the blue, but sadly, that is not the case. Attacks on Jewish religious traditions have been an unfortunate part of European history since Roman times. And now, once again there is a concerted effort to criminalize God’s commandment to the Jewish people. One visiting rabbi in Berlin to discuss the ban called it “perhaps the most serious attack on Jewish life in Europe since the Holocaust.” (bbc.co.uk, 13July2012)

This legal decision would make perfect sense to a godless judge and a nation that no longer considers the truths of the Bible a core value. In fact, the majority of German people support the ban on circumcision. The editorial page in the Jerusalem Post reported that 56% of Germans believe that circumcision should be illegal. (JP, 25July2012)

A Bavarian professor, Dr. Holm Putzke, applauded the ruling. “After all the knee-jerk outrage has subsided,” he wrote, “it is to be hoped it will set in motion a discussion about religiously motivated violence against children.” (bbc.co.uk, 13July2012)

Dr. Frank Montgomery, president of the German Medical Association told the BBC: “It leaves doctors in a legal quagmire. What rights do parents have over their children’s religion,” Montgomery wondered, adding that “with baptism in Christianity, you pre-construct the religious position of little children by baptizing them.” To play it safe, Dr. Montgomery gave orders that German doctors not perform circumcisions. (ibid.)

Soon after the Cologne decision, a German doctor, Sebastian Guevara Kamm in the Bavarian city of Hof, filed a complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, an Israeli native who serves as Chief rabbi in that city. Dr. Kamm filed a complaint claiming the mohel (Jewish ritual circumciser) causes a child bodily harm.

Dr. Goldberg said he had been performing circumcisions for 40 years in Germany, and would continue. He added he could only assume the complaint against him had an anti-Semitic motivation. “I can’t see any other reason for it.” But Kamm responded that he felt “duty bound to protect children.” (Haaretz, 23Aug2012)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered a good friend of Israel, urged her government to legislate around the ruling saying it would make Germany a “laughing stock.” However, legislation takes time - at the least, many months.

Moreover, this decision by one judge in Cologne - and whose authority is valid only in that city, has caused a ripple affect that is spreading throughout Europe. Already, the Jewish Hospital in Berlin, which has been performing ritual circumcisions for 250 years, has stopped. Hospitals in Austria and Switzerland are perplexed as to whether or not circumcisions should be allowed in their countries. (Herald Tribune, 27Aug2012)

In the Jewish community, there is incredulity and alarm at the German court’s decision. Jonah Sievers, the chief rabbi of Lower Saxony, said that when he first heard it, he “thought it was just impossible.” (bbc.co.uk, ibid.)

Now politicians in Denmark, Norway and Finland are reported to have come out in favor of outlawing the practice in their nations. (Haaretz, 29Aug2012)

Some European countries may have issues with a growing, often radical, Muslim population that is resisting integration. Britain’s chief rabbi sees the ruling as a blow primarily directed at Muslims, with Jews as collateral damage. But restricting the rights of Muslims and Jews to carry out a religious ceremony symbolizing purity and man’s covenant with God is surely not the way to proceed. (cbn.com, June 2012)

ACTIVISTS PUSH FOR BANS IN THE U.S.

By no means is this wave of protests over Jews circumcising their children limited to Europe. In San Francisco, a ban on circumcision qualified for the 2011 ballot in San Francisco, and a similar campaign began in Santa Monica, California. The San Francisco measure which was later struck down in part for violating the religious freedoms of Jews and Muslims would have made circumcising any male under age 18 a crime punishable by a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. (Haaretz, ibid.)

The attempt in Santa Monica also failed, and even though activists in Massachusetts worked hard, they too were not able to pass a law against the Biblical command to the Jewish people.

Though anti-circumcision activists in the U.S. have not succeeded in getting their proposals on the ballot, they have no thought whatsoever of stopping their efforts to make circumcision illegal.

Matthew Hess, a San Francisco man with a mission, explained, “The end goal for us is making cutting boys’ foreskin a federal crime.”

Hess is the author of an online comic book, “Foreskin Man.” The “hero” rescues babies about to be cut by the grotesque Jewish villain called Monster Mohel. These comic books are vile, and are on a par with the sleaze spewed out by Nazis and extremists throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Another anti-circumcision crusader, Jena Troutman, who wants to outlaw circumcision in all America explained, “I am just a mom trying to save the little babies.” Ms. Troutman said she considered putting religious exemptions in the measure, but then decided, “Why should only some babies be protected?”

What I have observed in my lifetime is that when an anti-God or anti-Bible or anti-Semitic movement begins, it will not stop as it is driven by unseen evil spirits who have secured a foothold in an individual or group of people. As long as Christians sleep, as long as the Church does nothing, Satan will use the energies of these deceived people who see evil as good and good as evil, until they reach their goal.

BENEFITS OF CIRCUMCISION

There are numerous medical reports on the web explaining that on the eighth day when circumcision takes place it also happens to be the day when the infant’s potassium level, which helps blood to clot, peaks. (cbn.com, ibid.)

Secondly, despite rare media reports and rabid blogs to the contrary, ritual circumcision is a very safe procedure. International health organizations have long promoted circumcision as an important strategy for reducing the spread of the AIDS virus.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, circumcision has fallen out of favor with American parents over the past few decades, with rates falling from about 80% in the 1970s to 55% in 2010. (JP, 28Aug2012)

The Los Angeles Times recently cited a study predicting that as the number of circumcisions goes down in the U.S., the cost of health care will steadily climb because of sexually transmitted diseases.

Why? Because circumcision has been proven to be the second most effective means - after condoms - of stopping the transmission of HIV-AIDS, with the British Medical Journal reporting that circumcised men are eight times less likely to contract the infection. Research concludes male circumcision also reduces the risk of cervical cancer in women by 20%, and reduces men’s risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes, syphilis and various cancers. (See Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s article, JP; 4Sept2012)

Even the Washington Times reported that “declining U.S. circumcision rates could add more than $4 billion in health care costs in coming years because of increased illness and infections.” (washingtontimes.com, 27Aug2012)

Yet it is important to recognize that while medical studies have shown health benefits to circumcision, Jews do not circumcise their sons for that reason, but because of the covenant that it represents with God. “While the American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its position several times, the Jewish people have always been steadfast in their commitment to brit milah,” says Dr. Avraham Steinberg, author of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics.

JEWS OF ALL PERSUASIONS UNITE AGAINST ATTACK ON THEIR RELIGION

Israeli journalists who are completely secular understand the importance of parents’ religious freedom to circumcise their sons. Haaretz’ Bradley Burston wrote: “My parents had me circumcised because they had come to believe that it was an act of faith and an expression of religious devotion, a profound tie to thousands of years of tradition. It was their right to choose, and their responsibility ...To criminalize so fundamental an act and commandment of Jewish and Muslim faith is to deprive millions of people not only of their freedom of religion, but of their rights and duties as human parents. If the intactivists [anti-circumcision activists] succeed in criminalizing belief, God help us all.” (Haaretz, ibid.)

The New York Times explained it thus: Jewish groups see the ballot measures as a very real threat, likening them to bans on circumcision that existed in Soviet-era Russia and Eastern Europe and in ancient Roman and Greek times. The circumcision of males is an inviolable requirement of Jewish law that dates back to Abraham’s circumcision of himself and his sons in the Book of Genesis.

“Jews say the proposed ban is an assault on religious freedom that could have a widespread impact all over the country. Beyond the biblical, there are emotional connections: checking for circumcision was one of the ways Jewish children could be culled from their peers by Nazis and the czar’s armies.” (nytimes.com, 5June2011)

Israeli President Shimon Peres told German President Joachim Gauck in a recent letter that circumcision is “at the core of Jewish identity.” A Jewish citizen of Germany said, “Banning circumcision is tantamount to saying no Jewish life is possible in Germany. I don’t think Germany can afford to take that position.”

Knesset member Danny Danon summoned the German ambassador to Israel, telling him, “Circumcision is one of the pillars of Judaism, and the last time it was restricted was in Germany during its darkest hour.” (huffingtonpost.com, 9July2012)

Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow and the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said the court’s decision was part of what he saw as growing infringement upon religious freedom in Europe. “Circumcision is existential,” he stated. “Without it there can be no Jewish community.” (ibid.)

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told CBN News, “The Jewish people’s commitment to brit milah outlived Stalin, Hitler and all the other tyrants who understood the importance of brit milah to the Jewish people. In the former Soviet Union, Jews put their lives on the line in order to get a brit milah,” the rabbi said.

“People are shocked that it has reached this level because there has never been this kind of a direct assault on a Jewish practice here... This is something that American Jews have always taken for granted - that something that was so contested elsewhere but here, we’re safe and we’re secure.” (nytimes.com, ibid.)

The truth is that only if we who are believers understand the spiritual forces at work can we comprehend how people who do not fear the God of the Bible can rise up across the world with one goal in mind - to destroy the Jewish people.

Thank you for your fervent prayers,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram



Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram are the founders of Maoz Israel Ministries. The mission of MAOZ is: 1) To declare the Message of Messiah and make disciples in the city of Tel Aviv and throughout Israel. 2) To raise up Israeli leaders to prepare for the coming spiritual awakening among the people of Israel. 3) To educate and inform Christians world-wide of the strategic importance of Israel and the Jewish people in God's plan for world revival. The MAOZ web site is http://www.maozisrael.org/.

 

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