Norwegian party votes to ban ritual circumcision, Belgian measure targets ritual slaughter


( Norway’s Progress Party voted Saturday in favor of a law banning ritual circumcision of children under age 16, a day after the environment committee in Belgium’s Parliament of Wallonia voted in favor of banning ritual slaughter.

The flag of Norway. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In response to the threats posed to both shechita (kosher slaughter) and brit milah (Jewish circumcision) in Europe, Jewish leaders called on Israel to exert its political influence. 

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association, wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, urging them to establish a working team to prevent the establishment and implementation of anti-Jewish laws in Europe.

“I have no doubt that the state of Israel—the state of the Jewish people—cannot remain indifferent to it, and I call on you to exert all your political influence in order to prevent the exclusion of Jews from life in various European countries,” wrote Margolin.

Regarding the Norwegian circumcision bill, the rabbi said, “We will act in every way we can to fight this disgraceful bill...There is no doubt that this is an anti-Jewish decision that is blatantly anti-Semitic.”

Advocates of the Norwegian bill claim circumcision constitutes mental and physical harm to children and violates children’s rights. 

The anti-immigrant Progress Party is part of Norway’s governing coalition and is the third-largest party in the country’s legislature, with 29 of 169 seats.

Posted on May 9, 2017 .