Israel asks Turkey to join in anti-circumcision ban effort
Council of Europe's decision to outlaw circumcision rite may lead to ease of tensions between Israel, Turkey, as Israel offers to fight ban together

Will the European circumcision ban unexpectedly bring together Turkey and Israel? Yedioth Ahronoth discovered that following the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly's decision to ban Jewish and Muslim circumcision rites, Israel approached Turkey and offered to fight the decision together.


Israeli-Turkish relations have been in a serious crisis since the Gaza flotilla affair, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed in an IDF raid, and despite a recent thaw the tensions are still high.


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Israeli officials are hopeful that joint pressure will lead to the decision's reversal, and that the cooperation will ease the tensions between the two countries.


Circumcision is customary in the mostly Muslim Turkey, and it has a special interest at annulling the ban since Europe is home to millions immigrants from Turkey and other Muslim countries.


Israel has called on the council last week to reverse the decision, and President Shimon Peres issued a special letter to the council's secretary-general, urging him to do the same.


"You have dedicated a large part of your career to defending the civil liberties of citizens across the world... I know how much you value the principles of freedom of religion and trust that you will exert your considerable influence in the Council of Europe for the sake of these fundamental rights," Peres' letter read.


The Council of Europe is a pan-European intergovernmental organization whose resolutions have no legal force and do not bind its member states, among them Turkey. However, this declarative move may lead to a wave of legislation banning circumcision across Europe.



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