A veteran mohel and certified rabbi from the central city of Hadera has been sending his inexperienced students to practice circumcision on babies from low-income families, an investigation conducted by the new Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) revealed on Monday.
Video footage showed Rabbi Eliyahu Asulin, a Chief Rabbinate-affiliated mohel with 33 years of experience, explaining that he forges certificates for his inexperienced students and sends them to deal with the newborn boys of Ethiopian Jewish families.
Filipino and Sudanese families, who perform circumcision not always as a religious ritual but as a cultural practice, are also easily deceived, according to Asulin.
“Why practice on these families?” Asulin told an undercover reporter. “They have no mother or father, so that whatever you do, there won’t be a problem. Do you understand? Even if you make a crooked cut, they won’t say anything, because they don’t understand anything.”
He also instructed his apprentices to go into the houses of Ethiopian and Sudanese families and claim to be certified to perform ritual circumcision, despite not having practical experience.
“Why does everyone go to them? Because that’s where you learn,” Asulin said, “They are cannon fodder, as they say.”
Asulin is not the only mohel who has told his students to take advantage of poor families, according to the report. Recorded conversations with mohels from the central cities of Petah Tikva, Bat Yam and Rishon Lezion also featured rabbis explaining that the practice was commonplace.
In a statement, Asulin said the footage had been “edited” and “cooked,” and that it had been ordered by vindictive “political elements” in his city of Hadera.
“I have circumcised thousands of Ethiopian babies and I see that as a holy mission. I will continue to dedicate my life to the public,” he added.
The Chief Rabbinate said in a statement, “If the incidents described in the video are true, we see this as a very grave incident,” Channel 2 reported.