The Israeli High Court ruled on Sunday that a parent cannot be forced to perform bris milah when the other parent opposes it. Thus, the Court brushed aside the prior ruling of a beis din in the matter, saying that the rabbinical court had no authority to decide such a case.
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef denounced the High Court’s intervention, saying that “the decision to give precedence
to a civil court over a rabbinical court, even in religious matters such as bris milah, apart from its intrinsic gravity, also symbolizes the worrying trend of recent years to diminish the authority of the rabbinical courts.”
“I call upon the president of the High Court to convene a hearing to review the issue and retract the outrageous decision and put an end to this eating-away at the standing of the rabbinical courts,” Harav Yitzchak Yosef said.
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri also attacked the ruling: “The decision of the High Court to disallow the father from performing the bris milah, which tens of thousands of Jews have given their lives for over the generations, is nothing less than scandalous.”
“Our ancestors davened during thousands of years of exile to return to Eretz Yisrael. They certainly didn’t yearn for this state [that] would not permit a Jewish father to circumcise his son.”
Writing the minority opinion, Judge Eliyakim Rubenstein said: “I view these issues from the perspective of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state … The fact that the great majority of Jews in Israel — both secular and religious — circumcise their children — speaks for itself. It is worth noting as well, the social repercussions of being uncircumcised for a child in Israel, the position of Israel vis-à-vis other countries which oppose bris milah, and its medical advantages.”