Berlin – The German-Jewish community has been up in arms since Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger waded into the ongoing circumcision controversy in Germany.
Rabbi Metzger traveled to Germany to meet with top government officials and to advocate for the continuation of circumcision, while Minister Yishai wrote a letter to German Chancellor Merkel asking her to intervene.
German-Jewish leaders were apparently so incensed by their “unproductive” involvement that the Central Council of Jews in Germany sent a letter to Israel’s ambassador to Berlin saying, “The two both unnecessarily strained the debate and contributed to further uncertainty. This is an unprecedented act of interference in the religious and political affairs of an independent Jewish community outside Israel,” the Times of Israel reports (http://bit.ly/PYdckl).
The General Rabbinical Conference of Germany was also highly critical, calling Rabbi Metzger’s concern “unhelpful,” and accusing him of asserting authority he does not have. “He’s the chief rabbi of Israel; that is worthy of respect. But he isn’t the chief rabbi of Germany,” Henry Brandt, chairman of the Rabbinical Conference said. “We have an intact rabbinate, both Orthodox and general, so we don’t need him to throw a wrench in the works.”
The debate over circumcision began in June after a Colonge district court ruled that the ritual was illegal and a mohel was subsequently arrested for performing a circumcision.