Holland: Mohels May Be Breaking the Law

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04 Jun 2019

The Dutch Health Ministry says that it is cracking down on Jews who perform circumcisions without a medical degree. Two of the country’s most popular mohels were the target of a probe by the ministry.

“It is not correct that anyone may perform circumcision because circumcision is a religious freedom or because they are proficient in it,” a spokesperson said. “Of course, we will hold to account the people who break the law.”

Jaap Sijmons, a lecturer on medical law, said that the law prohibits any operation, including circumcision, by anyone not registered as a medical professional. However, this appears to be an interpretation since the law does not explicitly forbid such practices. Rather, it lists some non-medical professionals who are allowed to perform invasive treatments; mohels are not on the list.

In the Netherlands, the Health Ministry may issue directives forbidding certain practices but such directives may be challenged in court, where a judge will ultimately interpret the law.

The Royal Dutch Medical Association called to ban non-medical circumcision in 2010, on the basis that it introduced unnecessary risks and violated the rights of underage patients.

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