Tamir comes from a religious Jewish family, but calls himself a "cultural Jew". She remembers how she experienced the first Brit when she was about 14 years old. The child's mother was standing outside crying during the ceremony, and at that moment Tamar decided that if she would ever have a son, she would not circumcise him. When she gave birth to her son in 2001, she followed her resolution.
|There is not a single benefit to circumcision. It's like chopping off a hand - it's a healthy part of your body and there's no reason to cut it off.
– Ronit Tamir (Forward)
In 2020 she spoke in a video message on WWDOGA:
Before I start my “speech” I would like to say that I’m very excited to take part in this activity and to celebrate this important day, the 7th of May with you. I’m glad to be part of a network of people all across the world that find the safety, well-being and human rights of babies and children important.
My name is Ronit Tamir and I’m one of the founding members of KAHAL, an organization that has been active in Israel for the last 20 years. Our goals are to help parents and parents-to-be with support and advice as well as making the information about circumcision accessible, public and easy to understand.
I don’t know if you are aware, but in Israel it is not very easy to be against circumcision. Circumcision is an ancient ritual with religious roots and it is very significant for both Judaism and Islam. Despite the religious connotations I’ve mentioned, the majority of the people in Israel are not religious, yet nonetheless still do circumcise their baby boys.
What often leads them to do this is heavy pressure from their family members and other people around them alongside lack of information. The correct and science-based information about this procedure is hidden, not collected and not published. Instead, false data is presented in official publications, including the false “facts” that circumcision is good for the baby’s health or that it is necessary for the baby to be considered Jewish, which are not correct.
Circumcision is presented as an easy procedure that involves no, or very insignificant pain, no risks and no disadvantages. People are taught from young age that the foreskin is unclean. Statistics and objective information about circumcisions that were poorly performed are not collected, advertised or investigated.
In Israel, in most cases, circumcisions are performed by MOHALIM, who are traditional circumcisers, and are religious people, not doctors. They don’t have any medical education and training, are not committed to any hygienic standards, cannot professionally diagnose the baby’s condition and are not allowed to use effective pain relief with local anesthesia.
Instead, they tend to claim that the baby doesn’t feel much pain (if any) and the baby’s screams are quieted by giving him a bit of wine during the ceremony. An obligatory part of this ritual is when the circumciser sucks the blood from the wound with is mouth or with a tube exposing the baby to many, some deadly infections.
(I know you might be thinking that I made this up, but it is totally true. This is the way the traditional Jewish ritual is performed when it is not done by a doctor). Although the medical training and education in Israel is in very high standards, medical students don’t even have one hour of education about the foreskin during their studies. It is very common that parents would go to the doctor, often on completely unrelated issue, and are given a recommendation to have their child circumcised immediately – as if they are endangering his life otherwise.
In the past 20 years KAHAL has helped many thousands of people get information, answers and support – to enable them to make an informed decision as to what should be done to their newborn baby. Our main activity is holding a monthly meeting, which anyone interested can join, to meet and talk with parents who have intact children in a variety of ages.
All our activity is run by volunteers and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them.Despite the taboo on this subject in Israel and among the Jewish community in general, the phenomenon of parents choosing not to circumcise their sons in Israel has expanded greatly in recent decades. Once there were perhaps only a few dozen uncircumcised Jewish men in the whole country, but today masses of mothers and fathers who are ready to overcome their family’s pressure and the fear of being different give their children the right to their bodies and lives.
I receive many emails and messages about the birth of new babies, whose parents decided to leave their bodies as nature created them. I'm always excited to receive this news and I’m always happy to see a picture of the baby in his mother's lap or his father's arms.To close I would like to thank the activists who have organized this day - See you next year!
– Ronit Tamir (WWDOGA 2020)
- Gradstein, Linda (15 ינואר 2018)."Circumcision Rates Are Slipping — Even In Israel", Forward. Retrieved 13 מאי 2020.
- Schleicher, Ulrike (22 אוגוסט 2020)."Debatte zum Beschneidungsurteil: Nur Minderheit in Israel lehnt Beschneidung ab" [Circumcision judgment debate: Only minority in Israel rejects circumcision], ÄrzteZeitung. Retrieved 13 מאי 2020.
WWDOGA 200 - Ronit Tamir, YouTube, MOGiS e.V.. Retrieved 13 מאי 2020.