(September 13, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Saturday for taking a stand against a bill seeking to ban the circumcision of boys in Denmark for non-medical reasons.
In a statement from his office, Netanyahu conveyed his appreciation for Frederiksen’s steadfast defense of Denmark’s Jewish community and the tradition of circumcision, which he said “was a matter of maintaining Jewish identity through the generations.”
Denmark had protected its Jewish community during and after the Holocaust, and hopefully would continue to do so in the future, he said.
In explaining her opposition to the bill, Frederiksen said it was a matter of keeping the pledge Denmark made after World War II that the Jews would always remain part of Danish society. Banning the ritual circumcision of boys would break that promise, she said.
“Many Jews don’t find it compatible to live in a country where circumcision is banned, and I simply don’t think we can make a decision with which we don’t live up to our promise—that the Jews will remain part of Denmark,” Frederiksen told Denmark’s TV2 News.
The proposed legislation caused an outcry among Denmark’s Jewish community, with community president Henri Goldstein saying it could potentially “end Jewish life in the kingdom.”
This was not the first time such a bill was tabled by Danish lawmakers, and each time it has been a source of controversy for the Scandinavian country. The current bill was introduced last month by former Interior Minister Simon Emil Ammitzbøll-Bille, now the leader of the Forward Party, which considers itself centrist, but is often described as left-leaning.
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