The Council of Europe said on Thursday it would not ban male circumcision in a response to a letter sent to the council by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
The council had voted last week to deem male ritual circumcision a "violation of the physical integrity of children." Israel Hayom reports:
Peres wrote to Jagland that "the ritual of male circumcision has been practiced by Jewish communities for thousands of years and is a fundamental element of our tradition and obligation as Jews. The Jewish communities across Europe would be greatly afflicted to see their cultural and religious freedom impeded upon by the Council of Europe, an institution devoted to the protection of these very rights. I therefore urge the members of this distinguished assembly to reconsider this resolution."
In response, Jagland emphasized that female circumcision is considered gender-based violence, and he clarified that the resolution clearly differentiates between female genital mutilation and "the practice of circumcision of young boys for religious reasons." There is no similar legal ban on religious male circumcision.