Jews living in Germany are facing the prospect of committing a crime if they choose to circumcise their sons following a circumcision ban,
with one rabbi
already being indicted for "bodily harm" for performing the act.
The president of the German Association of Pediatricians was quoted Sunday by the Frankfurter Sonntagszeitung as comparing circumcision to "drilling a hole in the ear of a child and causing physical damage."
On Friday, a district court in Berlin was asked to rule in a unique case in Germany, in which parents of a three-year-old girl demanded compensation from a piercing studio on the grounds that their child was traumatized and had complained of pain in the days after her ears were pierced.
Addressing the affair, President of the German Association of Pediatricians Wolfram Hartmann said in an interview that subjecting a child to an operation in which a hole is drilled in their ear causes injury and damage to the integrity of the child, just like circumcision.
"A hole in a child's ear causes irreversible damage, just like circumcision is an irreversible act," said Hartmann, adding that "circumcision is obviously a violation of utmost importance."
Prof. Yona Amitai, chairman of the Israeli Ambulatory Pediatric Association, said in response: "Israel and the United States have the greatest amount of experience when it comes to circumcision. In the US, the procedure is performed on half of the non-Jewish population for medical reasons.
"Circumcision contributes greatly to the child's health and public health, and its advantages have been proven in many studies. We object to the harsh and unacceptable remarks made in Germany."
Meanwhile, in the US experts are singing circumcision's praises and claiming that declining circumcision rates could increase health costs.
A new study published by the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine revealed that circumcision has clear medical benefits. These include a significant decrease in sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, HPV, herpes and penile cancer.
Circumcision protects not only the man but his partner as well. Research has shown that the frequency of urinary tract infections and cervical cancer drops in women whose partners are circumcised when compared with women whose partners have not undergone circumcision.
"There are health benefits to infant male circumcision in guarding against illness and disease, and declining male circumcision rates come at a severe price, not just in human suffering, but in billions of health care dollars as well," the report noted.
"Parents ultimately should decide whether circumcision is in the best interests of their male child. They will need to weigh medical information in the context of their own religious,
ethical, and cultural beliefs and practices."
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced that it would endorse the findings and stated that the report would help clinicians in advising parents of the health benefits and risks of male newborn circumcision in an unbiased and accurate manner.
Israeli medical experts have also endorsed the new report: Professor Yona Amitai the Chairman of Israel Pediatric Association (IPA) and Professor Mati Berkowitz, Chairman of the Israel Ambulatory Paediatric Association (IAPA) told Ynet that "Circumcision contributes a great deal to the health of the circumcised person and Israel public health.
"The many health benefits of circumcision were proven in many studies including prevention of dangerous infectious diseases, both in the short and long term, and decreasing the chances of penile cancer in the man and cervical cancer in his female partner.
"The association welcomes the decision of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is considered the most professional authoritative body in children's medicine."