Peres Urges German President: Let Jews Practice Circumcision

Israel's President Shimon Peres is the third leader who has tried to apply pressure on Germany following a Cologne court ruling that prohibits the procedure for medical reasons.

Israel's President Shimon Peres urged his German counterpart Joachim Guack on Thursday to allow Jews to continue circumcising their children, in a letter calling on Germany to allow Jews to practice the ancient ritual.

With the letter, Peres became the third Israeli leader who has tried pressure Germany over this issue, after a Cologne court ruling in May that prohibited the procedure for medical reasons.

Earlier this week, Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger sharply criticized Germany at a press conference in Berlin, and called for a compromise on the issue. On Wednesday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai sent a letter with a similar sentiment to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the letter, Peres called on Germany to protect the freedom of religion and worship of German Jews. Circumcision is a crucial Jewish custom which has been practiced for thousands of years, the President wrote.

Peres added that he is sure Germany will remain committed to ensuring the right of Germany's Jewish community to practice Jewish religious tradition freely.

The debate over circumcision was rekindled after a doctor in Germany filed a police complaint against the chief rabbi of the city of Hof, in Bavaria, for carrying out a ritual circumcision. The doctor claimed that Rabbi David Goldberg inflicted physical harm on a boy when Goldberg performed a brit milah on him. It is now up to the prosecution whether to press charges.

A Jewish think tank in Israel on Thursday said the circumcision debate could threaten the future of Jewish communities in Europe.