Israeli mom fined $149 a day for refusing son's circumcision

An Israeli woman has been ordered by a religious court to have her baby son circumcised or else pay a fine of $149 for every day he remains uncircumcised.

Rabbinical court has jurisdiction over matters of religion, including marriage disputes

A rabbi performs a circumcision in Jerusalem in 2012. The surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys performed eight days after birth as a mark of faith ordained by the Bible, and is widely practised in Israel both by religious and secular Jewish families. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

An Israeli woman has been ordered by a religious court to have her baby son circumcised or else pay a fine of $149 Cdn for every day he stays uncircumcised.

The order from an Israeli rabbinical court was handed down Oct. 29, Israeli newspapers reported today.

The court forms part of the country's justice system, with jurisdiction over matters of religion, Haaretz reports on its website.

The procedure, which for boys involves removing part of the penis foreskin, is part of Jewish culture and is sometimes performed in other cultures for medical reasons.

"The baby was born with a medical problem, so we couldn't circumcise him on the eighth day as is customary," the mother, whose name is given only as Elinor, told Haaretz.

"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."

Tell us what you think!

Help shape the future of CBC article pages by taking a quick survey.

'Standard surgical procedure'

The problem came when she and her husband began to contemplate divorce. The husband insisted on circumcision, and the matter went to a panel of three rabbis.

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," the rabbis said.

When Elinor lost in that forum, she appealed to a higher rabbinical court and lost there as well, London's Daily Telegraph reported from Jerusalem.

The mother now plans an appeal to Israel's High Court of Justice, Haaretz said.

The rulings come amid growing concern in Israel over attempts elsewhere in the world to prohibit ritual circumcision on humanitarian grounds, the Telegraph said. It is seen by some as a form of anti-Semitism.