On Monday, the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee denounced a German court's ruling that banned ritual circumcision in part of the country.
A regional court in Cologne recently ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm, even if the parents agree to it. Circumcision of baby boys is a fundamental Jewish religious ritual.
The denunciation came after the committee members met with the German Ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis.
During the meeting committee chairman MK Danny Danon told the German ambassador that "the world's Jewry should not have restrictions imposed on it, particularly not in Germany," according to Ynet, Yedioth Ahronoth's online news portal. "The last time circumcision was restricted was during Germany's darkest period." Danon warned that the prohibition is a "dangerous precedent that must be changed."
Danon went on to say that "a nation that restricts the essence of Judaism like Europe did in the 1930s will face strong opposition from Israel." The ruling was particularly sensitive, given German history and the Holocaust of World War II, in which 6 million Jews were killed.
Michaelis told the committee that Germany is working to resolve the issue, and the ruling does not apply at the national level.
Michaelis also wrote a personal letter to Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) on Monday in which he reaffirmed Germany's commitment to a pluralistic society, where Jews enjoy the freedom to practice their religious customs. "Fostering Jewish life in Germany is not only a goal. Freedom of religion is protected under the constitution of the federal republic," read the letter, according to the German embassy's website. Michaelis also wrote that while the government respects the decisions of the judiciary, the Cologne court's decision is not in line with Germany's courts as a whole, which views circumcision as an accepted social norm that is consistent with standard medical procedure.