Following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, the Associated Press has corrected a July 22 article (“Israeli government clashes with liberal Jewish streams”) which wrongly alleged that the Israeli Rabbinate controls circumcisions in Israel.
The article had stated:
Israel’s Orthodox rabbinical establishment wields a monopoly over key aspects of daily life, such as marriage, divorce, burials and circumcisions.
While the Israeli Rabbinate, which is Orthodox, does exert control over Jewish marriage, divorce and burials in Israel, it is completely uninvolved in all but a very small number of circumcisions in Israel.
Jewish parents can opt to have their sons circumcised or not. They can hire anyone they choose to perform the circumcision, a trained Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform mohel (someone who carries out ritual circumcisions), or a surgeon, not trained in religious circumcisions. Parents do not report or record their sons’ circumcision with any authority.
The only case that comes to mind of Rabbinate intervention with circumcision is the 2013 incident involving a dispute between the parents who were undergoing a divorce. Ultimately, though, in 2014, the High Court “voided a ruling by the Supreme Rabbinical Court that obligated a woman to circumcise her son in response to her husband’s demand in divorce proceedings, saying the rabbinical court had exceeded its authority by doing so,” Haaretz reported.
The exception of the Rabbinate’s non-involvement in circumcision is circumcision for the purpose of conversion. In cases of conversion, the Rabbinate is involved.
Correspondence from CAMERA prompted editors to republish the story later that very same day with the correct information: “Israel’s Orthodox rabbinical establishment wields a monopoly over key aspects of daily life, such as marriage, divorce and burials.”
CAMERA commends the Associated Press’ timely correction. CAMERA’s Israel office monitors wire service stories in the same news cycle as they appear, thereby proactively prompting correction of articles before misinformation is disseminated to media outlets around the world.
For additional AP corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.