The German judge who ruled that circumcision is a criminal act was naïve, and perhaps even silly, Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said Wednesday.
A judge in Cologne in June outlawed religious circumcision because he said it inflicted bodily harm on babies who were not at the age that they could object. The practice is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body,” the court decided. The ruling affected only the local province and not the entire country.
Rabbi Metzger has been in Germany this week to speak with authorities and told Israeli radio Wednesday that his talks with German officials left him reassured that the government will take action to rectify the court ruling.
He rejected the idea that the Cologne judge was anti-Semitic and added, “He was naïve – and perhaps even silly.”
The German government assured Jews that it would pass legislation to allow circumcision, one of the most ancient and sacred Jewish laws and also practiced by Muslims.
In the meantime, proceedings have been launched against the rabbi of the city of Hof in Bavaria, based on the ruling in Cologne in a case of a four-year-old Muslim boy who was hospitalized for extensive bleeding after a circumcision. The Rabbi, David Goldberg, said he has not carried out any circumcisions for more than a month.
Hospitals in Austria and Switzerland also have suggested that doctors stop performing circumcisions until their legality can be established.