Israel and Norwegian Jews

Who would have thought that the Gazans would have nothing else to complain about than the Egyptians?

Also, just to satisfy the weird tastes of the intactivists I have included a couple of stories on circumcision, the should make their day (careful to not get your nickers in a twist, or a wobbly willie!)


Stavanger Aftenblad 2012 11 08

Arild I. Olsson/Jarle Aasland

Not Online


This is a long article on the situation in Gaza and Southern Israel, starting with an interview of a Hamas fighter on the Gaza/Egypt border, being in a perpetual confrontation with the Egyptians; though this conflict mainly is verbal, there has also been bloodshed.


“We don’t understand what they are shouting; but it can hardly be anything nice.

‘This takes part every day. The Egyptians are shouting invective at us. At times, they are taking a bead on us with their weapons’.

‘What do they shout’?

‘Mostly it is sexual abuse’, the Hamas soldier responds”.

The Hamas fighters tells the journalist that Israel really does not exist; that it is about millions of Jews stealing land, and that one day, they shall take back this land.

Later on in this article, the tunneling industry of Gaza is described. This industry employs some 40 000 people according to the article.


“We started up with cigarettes. As we made money, we expanded the business. We have hauled engines through, car parts…


‘No, never. Not any weapons’, the tunnel man states categorically.

At another tunnel, there are three boys seated, smoking a nargile. One of them rises, leaving, seeing us. He carries the nargile around a corner. The two younger ones are left. Between them is a plate of rice, some slices of meat, and two pears.

In this tunnel, the goods smuggled trough, have been hauled on wiredrawn sleds. The days of tunnels being small holes through the earth are some years ago.

‘All tunnels are closed by now’, they say.

They are seated in the shadow; smoking the nargile, waiting for better days to come.

‘Want some hashish’, the boys ask.

‘Rather not’ we respond”.

Later on the interviewer’s talks to IDF personnel, making comments on rockets being the main export article from Gaza, however conceding Hamas is not the only source of trouble.

IDF spokesman Bjørn Hermann makes this statement:

“In a short term perspective, the division between the Gaza strip and the West bank is good for Israel; however, it is no good solution in a long term perspective”, says Bjørn Hermann, press spokesman of the IDF. He has a belief in a peaceful solution”.

Talking to Israeli border guards, the interviewer receives this comment:

“The last sniping took part two weeks ago’, says T.

T is behind the wheel. He struggles with the sandy road, kilometer by kilometer. At the end, we are at the Mediterranean sea. Here, the walls and fences comes to an end; though the fence goes one hundred meters out into the surf.

‘Honestly, we could swim around that fence’.

‘Yes’, says T.

‘It is a major problem’.

A couple of sport anglers are about one hundred meter away from the fence, on the Gaza side. Their lines are in the sea; we cannot see any catch.

‘Just two guys fishing’?

‘Most likely’, T responds.

He adds they will shout to them if they come to close to the fence.  The border guards will announce them in Arab, waving their arms to get their attention, before firing warning shots. At least, these are the rules of engagement.

The border guard is behind the fence and the barbed wire. He has his finger on the trigger.

‘We don’t want to fire at people. If a man is killed, we maybe take the man from a wife, a father from his children. This would be a tragedy’, says T”.

Jewish issues


The Local 2013 11 13

No stated author

Ervin Kohn, President of the Jewish Community in Oslo, tells The Local that a ban on circumcision, or brit milah, would mean the end of his 720-strong community

Anne Lindboe, Norway’s children’s ombudsman, is an ambitious woman. It’s interesting that since she took office more than a year ago, she’s written two opinion pieces in the newspapers, both of them on circumcision.

There are a lot of problems concerning children which she has not addressed, but she has addressed this twice.

I think she gets a very good reception from the general public in Norway. It’s a strange custom to most Norwegians. They’re not used to it, and the general public is secular, so it’s easy for them to look on it as barbaric. People find it repulsive. They look at these newborns and think ‘poor babies’.

In the public debate, they propose an age limit of 15-16 years, so they’re arguing that they’re not proposing a ban, even though we are obligated to do it on the eighth day of the child’s life, so it is a ban on brit milah.

For the Jewish community this is an existential question.

We have all kinds of Jews. They keep the commandments they want and they disregard the commandments they don’t want: except for the obligation of circumcision.

The obligation of circumcision is almost universal: 99 percent of Jews do it, regardless of their denomination.

If you want to obliterate a Jewish community, you impose a ban on brit milah.

This is not the first time societies have proposed a ban. For that you have to go back to the Romans and the Ancient Greeks.

I’m not worried about a ban on brit milah now, although we will have legislation on the issue.

The previous government’s proposal was very good and we supported it.

Their proposal was to let healthcare authorities perform circumcision on newborns in our hospitals, because as it is today, our hospitals do not perform any kind of circumcision on babies. They also proposed footing the bill.

Their second proposal was that the Jewish community could continue as it is today, so long as our mohel is authorised, and that we have medical staff present, which we always do.

The present government will propose legislation in April, and I have asked the new health minister for a meeting.

This is a conservative liberal government. They don’t believe in an authoritarian state ruling over people’s personal lives, and they have the backing and the support of the Christian Democratic Party in the parliament.

It would be a great surprise if they didn’t follow the last government’s proposals


The Local 2013 11 12

Richard Orange

Norway is planning to introduce new regulations on circumcision following a push to ban the practice from Norway’s leading child rights official.

Health Minister Bent Høie said he would introduce new legislation on the non-medical circumcision of boys under 18 before April next year.

“We will review submissions on the matter before we can decide what should be the government’s position. We aim to present a bill before Easter,” he told Aftenposten.

Norway’s Children’s Ombudswoman Anne Lindboe this month reiterated her call for a ban on non-medical circumcision.

“This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky,” she told Aftenposten.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish community in Oslo, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that he considers the issue “an existential matter” for the 700-strong group.

Some 2,000 Muslim babies and seven Jewish babies are circumcised in Norway every year.