Inexperienced students of circumcision have been practicing their skills on the babies of the poorest of Israeli society – Ethiopian and Sudanese families – often claiming to be fully-qualified mohels (Jewish ritual circumcisers,) according to a new investigation.
- Why do Jews circumcise their sons?
- Israel to advise against controversial circumcision practice
- Botched circumcision gets South African mohel banned for life
The investigation was conducted by Kan, Israel's new public broadcasting corporation.
According to the investigation, the initiates are students of Rabbi Eliyahu Asulin of Hadera, a rabbinate-approved mohel with over 30 years' experience, who is paid thousands of dollars by the students to teach them the trade.
In many instances, according to the investigation, Asulin sends totally inexperienced students to conduct circumcisions among poor families, without accompanying them himself.
Asulin allegedly explained to the Kan investigative journalist that he first instructs the students to make business cards describing their profession as "Mohel." Then he tells them to distribute their cards at nurseries and post-natal clinics.
Meanwhile, the recording of Asulin continues, "I'll lodge a mohel certificate in your name with the rabbinate. That will already gives you a year's headstart."
The rabbi goes on to explain why the students practice on the babies of the weaker strata of the population: "Why not?" he asks in the recording. "They have no father. No mother There's no problem. Even if your cut isn't straight, they won't say anything, because they don't understand anything."
He later told the investigator – who by then had signed up for the course at a price of $11,000, according to the report – "They're Ethiopians, you're doing it to Ethiopians There are the regular Ethiopians and then there are the Sudanese. They're the worst. They're as black as natives."
Asulin also said he tells his students to claim to be qualified when dealing with the Ethiopians and Sudanese. "Why does everyone go to them?" he asks. "Because that's where you learn. They're cannon fodder."
Asulin, according to the Kan investigation, is not the only mohel who sends students to practice on poor families. Kan says it has recorded conversations with others who do the same thing.
Asulin said in response that the video footage of him had been edited and that the exposé had been ordered by “political elements” in Hadera.
“I have circumcised thousands of Ethiopian babies and I see it as a holy work," he said. "I will continue to dedicate my life to the public.”
In a statement reported by Channel 2, the Chief Rabbinate said: “If the incidents described in the video are true, we see it as a very grave incident.”