MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid), head of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs responded on Monday to the recent Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly resolution that ritual circumcision is "a violation of the physical integrity of children" and should be banned. He made clear that Israel will pursue diplomatic avenues to allow European Jews to circumcise their sons.
"If the need arises, we will instruct our embassies to perform circumcisions on their property, which is the sovereign property of Israel," said Razvozov in a statement. He added that "it's very important that we, as members of Knesset in the state of Israel, adamantly defend and prevent the possibility that this Jewish ritual or any other be forbidden by law in Europe."
Razvozov issued this statement following Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland's response to President Shimon Peres's letter urging the European council to rethink their non-binding anti-circumcision resolution. Jagland reassured Peres that religious ritual male circumcision does not fall under the same legal category as female genital mutilation, and is therefore not currently legally eligible to be banned.
Despite the reassurance, Razvozov stressed the importance of preventing even the beginnings of discussions that could lead to anti-Jewish legislation in the Diaspora. "It's important to understand that we are talking not only about the more religious factions, but about Jews altogether who want to keep their traditions. We will use all diplomatic tools at our disposal to prevent the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's resolution from becoming law. I call upon all members of Knesset to personally call all the representatives of the Council of Europe and to lobby against the decision to outlaw Jewish ritual circumcision," he said.
The statement included a comment from the Knesset's representative to the Council of Europe MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid): "We may encounter a wave of anti-Semitic legislation that will wash through Europe. There is a real danger that the representatives of the various national parliaments in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will ask to move forward with legislation in the spirit of their resolution, and it is our responsibility to find a cure to this plague and to prevent that from happening."