Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir / Flash 90
Rabbinical court (illustration image).

A rabbinical court in Netanya this week forced a divorced woman to facilitate the performance of a Jewish circumcision for her son, Behadrei Haredim reported.

During the divorce process, which Israeli Jews contest in rabbinical court, the husband requested that the regional rabbinical court in Netanya, about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv, to compel his wife to give their son a legal circumcision. The court accepted his request.


The woman argued that the rabbinical court does not have jurisdiction over her son, and may not decide on what constitutes a dangerous medical procedure for him, especially since the boy is not a party to the divorce procedure.

She argued that the authority to decide on this matter belongs exclusively in family court.

But the rabbinical judges, Rabbis Michael Amos, Sheur Pardes and Ariel Yanai, rejected the woman’s argument and determined that when a couple is in a dispute over the treatment of their son, the dispute may be resolve either in family or in rabbinical court.

“The circumcision,” wrote the judges, “is a simple surgery which is conducted on every Jewish baby eight days or older, around the world, for thousands of years. Therefore, when one of the parents demands it, the other party may not prevent it unless a medical danger can be proven.”

The judges added: “The minor’s entire educational construct depends on the performance of the Brit Milah-circumcision; therefore the mother’s claim that the circumcision is unrelated the child’s guardianship and education is refuted and rejected.

“The circumcision is the sign, the mark, the distinguishing detail of the Jewish identity of every Jew wherever he may be, and whatever his spiritual state. An uncircumcised Jew’s Jewish identity is incomplete and defective.”

Therefore, the mother’s request was rejected and the court ordered her to have the circumcision be performed within seven days, or suffer a financial penalty.


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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


  1. Circumcision is the sign of the covenant between this lady's son and his God. She has a responsibility to ensure it is carried out. Believe me, he will not thank her later if he is denied brit milah.

  2. I'm shocked! Shocked! To learn that a religious court in the Jewish nation supports the parent who favors circumcision for a Jewish boy. Next you'll try to tell me that Jews are demanding the right to have kosher food.

  3. AC Stubbs Actually, while the Torah never discusses female circumcision, the Beta Israel (who are considered Jewish by Eretz Yisrael, btw) do in fact practice female circumcision and consider it part of "their Judaism"…just like Ashkenazim consider no kitniyos on Pesach "their Judaism".
    What would you say to them?

  4. You're absolutely right.
    The child will be very happy and grateful if you perform the circumcision properly.
    Disgusting and smelly foreskin, only causes disease, sorrow, and even death increased AIDS infectionבטל עריכות

  5. Even if you were right that she has any such responsibility, no court has any right to force her to do it. And "his" god? He is a baby who hasn't chosen which of 5000 gods to believe in, if any. Many of them reportedly abhor circumcision.

  6. Dafna Levi That's ridiculous! Intact genitals are only "smelly" if personal hygiene is not attended to… fact circumcision doesn't replace personal hygiene! In fact women with intact genitals have to attend to personal hygiene too…..foreskin is normal and does not "cause" disease, in fact it is a functional part of the male penis as designed by nature. Making unwise sexual choices including not using condoms increases the likelihood of diseases like HIV….circumcision does NOT prevent HIV transmission. Get your facts straight!

  7. Myriam Obadia The female prepuce (foreskin) is NOT the hymen, it is the clitoral hood and in fact does retract. I hope none of you are Christian, because God later (Galatians) considered circumcision completely unnecessary.

  8. Dafna Levi, If you think foreskin is "disgusting and smelly" then I suggest you have your foreskin amputated immediately to make yourself less disgusting and less smelly. Perhaps that will also help you get over your culturally imposed prejudice too.

    Every human male and female is born with a foreskin. Foreskin serves many reasons primarily protection of the glans (clitoris and penis) and erotic and immunological functions too.

  9. A religious court forcing a child to loose part of his body. Sounds like gang assault to me. Shame on this rabbinical court.

    Remember, circumcision of underage children for non-therapeutic reasons violates children's right to physical integrity, thank you Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for saying what needs to be said. This case is a clear example of a court forcing a physical assault on a child.

  10. This is outrageous. What about in the event that a parent has religious grounds to oppose circumcision, like if they are a Sikh or a Catholic? Jewish rights trump theirs? And if Israel is so concerned about keeping with the 613, why are they not killing men who have sex with men? Why are they allowing people to eat shrimp and bacon without penalty? Why are they letting people work on Shabbat? They can't pick and choose which Jewish traditions are good enough to enforce and which ones aren't. Go all out or let people have the freedom to embrace their religion how they see fit.

  11. If the intactivist community can find out the identity of this woman, I'm sure we can help. Between us, we should stump up the financial penalty so this boy doesn't have to be mutilated. What's more, the judges are factually incorrect – not all Jews are circumcised; there's Jews Against Circumcision, Beyond the Bris and also the fact that so many are left intact in Europe.

  12. B Maurene White commented on a link.
    November 8
    How about earlier covenants in Genesis "I will be your God and you will be my people". And "Male and female he created them.". Many people think it is blasphemy to destroy such an intricate, vital part of God's creation. So what are your plans – teaching your children to ridicule a man with a whole body? Better start reading the anatomy and physiology that 90/100 of the world's people's respect and adjust. Judaism is a religion that changes with new reliable info- it might do the whole Jewish community well for people to start asking themselves whether it isn't time to recognize infants' and children's' rights. Tell me again how not being allowed to cut part of someone else's body violates YOUR rights, but not his?

    Israeli Rabbinical Court Forcing Divorcée to Circumcise Son
    The woman argued that the rabbinical court does not have jurisdiction over her son.
    Like · · Unfollow Post

  13. I had an inguinal orchiectomy when I was 29. Serious pain. Left testicle. I had cancer. I don't remember the pain of my circumcision of course. Is it a detriment to my sexual pleasure? How would I know? It's a benefit for the woman because i can go a long time without orgasm. Gentiles that moan about the barbarity of circumcision should try to be consistent regarding the ills of their own religion, including rampant pedophilia among the clergy and papacy.

  14. Ellen, I disagree with you when you say that he will not thank her later if he is denied brit milah, because all the Jewish men I know who have whole sexual anatomy have told me they thanked their parents for not cutting off their most sensitive part. I would have thanked my parents. Instead, my parents apologized to me for making the decision to cut off a useful and pleasurable part of me.

  15. Ellen Francis, since you think he will like it. I will introduce to you a male born to a jewish family, that DOESNT like it, and that would slowly torcher the mohel that cut him. Nice to meet you !

  16. Think of the other horrific tramas that we cant remember, does it make it Okay?? The drugging of a person, then sexually assulting them (male or female) must be okay in your eyes as the victim cant remember it …..

  17. God commands you do to call him for the last and final time by his real name!!!! GOD!!!!!!! not Yahweh, Thor, Allah, G(d or g%D or or asdio904.

    Speaketh his real name from your tongues and his presentheth shall commeth to you. Say his name! He awaits! Say it! Whats his name!!??

    And you will not cast any images or make any idols of him, unless he is a really buff old guy with a big beard sitting on a throne in the clouds. Like Zeus.

    For if you do, he will cometh downeth and strike the with great vengeance and furious anger. Like Zeus.

    And there will be much locusts and plagues and torture. For he is a merciful and loving GOD.

    Unlike all those other previous pagan gods that were really ty and mean and would say one thing and then do another and always be threatening death and eternal torture. This God rules. He is new and improved with an even bigger beard and special features and his cosmic powers are totally awesome.

  18. it does hurt them, look into the research. and there is no way that the rest of the world is wrong about choosing to leave their males as all gods have created them. if it is necessary to succeed as a human race, than that change would be happening in utero and not by forcible sexual assault on infant males. the world in general looks at those that circumcise females as monsters, that same cast should be set upon those that practice this barbaric unproven connection to a god on any infant.

  19. So, the Rabbinical court ruled that custody should remain with the mother. They agreed that the father had initially agreed not to circumcise the son. Now, he wants the son circumcised, but he does not want custody. Seems like he is using this issue as a way to get back at the mother.

    Something very wrong is going on here. This seems to be religious revenge on the part of the court, or at least the court is endorsing this kind of revenge. Of course, the one they are revenging upon is not the mother, but the innocent child. I suppose that makes sense from a purely literal biblical reading where children are often made to suffer for the “crimes” of the parent, but it certainly makes no sense in a modern world with modern sense of justice.

    We are already far past the 8 days of the biblical covenant, so at this point there is no reason to force the issue. The boy can always choose later to uphold the covenant himself. Why is the court enforcing this? If the mother doesn’t pay will they rip the baby from her arms and forcibly circumcise him against her will, and against her conscience? Will they form an angry mob to do this? Is this really justice in any form at all?

    I think I have been very wrong about the Jewish faith thus far. I always thought it was tenant of Judaism to question authority and challenge moral thinking. This doesn’t fit with the faith as I know it. It certainly doesn’t seem anything like the Jewish folks I know.

    I am speechless. This is just awful.

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