German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday deplored the “high level of anti-Semitism” in her country, speaking after a meeting with the Central Council of Jews.
Touching on a heated debate on male religious circumcision, she stressed the importance of religious tolerance, while also reiterating Berlin’s support for Israel in the recent Gaza conflict.
Guaranteeing the freedom to perform religious rituals is a “valuable” right said Merkel, the first chancellor to ever address the council, which represents 120,000 Jewish community members.
Earlier this year, Jews and Muslims living in Germany were angered when a Cologne district court ruled that the religious circumcision of young boys amounts to bodily harm.
In a statement, the council’s president, Dieter Graumann, called the ruling “an outrageous and insensitive act,” saying “circumcision of newborn boys is an inherent part of the Jewish religion and has been practised worldwide for centuries.”
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