circumcisionFlash 90

Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jenson, the leader of the Progress Party, announced that neither she nor her party supported a bill to ban circumcision in Norway.

"A ban on circumcision in Norway will not happen on my watch," the minister said.

The Progress Party had voted last month in favor of a bill which would ban circumcision for males under the age of 18.

Jensen distanced herself and her party from the bill during a meeting with delegation of European Jewish leaders Monday. "The bill is not on the agenda of the government, nor on the agenda of the Progressive Party, nor on my personal agenda ... We in Norway are opposed to any form of anti-Semitism and we will always defend our Jewish community, with which we have an excellent relationship."

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the Director-General of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) and the European Jewish Association (EJA), who led the campaign against the bill, welcomed Minister Jensen's remarks.

"I welcome the warm words of Minister Jensen and her unequivocal position on this issue, and we must ensure this commitment, because without it other parties throughout Europe, which do not have such a positive attitude towards Judaism, will prevail," Rabbi Margolin said.

The Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Benjamin Jacobs, noted at the end of the meeting, "I do not always say this, but I am glad that this meeting [took place] and our fears were a waste of time. The minister's words were clear and I trust her and her commitment to solving the issue. It is clear to me from a conversation with Mrs. Jensen that she understands us and the fears that Jews have throughout Europe and that she has excellent relations with the local community."