An unidentified woman in Israel was charged with grievous bodily harm and child abuse after circumcising her 4-year-old son in her home in March 2016.
The woman, who could get up to 14 years in prison, explained her actions to the Be’er Sheva District Court: "This is my son, my baby. After so many requests I made to all sorts of places about how to do it, I took it upon myself and cut. In Ethiopian culture, Eritrean culture, anyone who knows how can do the circumcision," reports Haaretz.
The woman's lawyer, Moshe Serogovich, said that mohels, who usually perform circumcisions in Jewish culture, are not regulated by law. Serogovich insisted that the woman acted according to her cultural heritage.
The woman was born in Eritrea, and moved to Israel in 2008. She works as a hotel maid.
Serogovich told the court: "You can only imagine the outcry that would have come from Israel, all its organizations and institutions, and from Jews around the world if a foreign country put Jewish men or women on trial for crimes for conducting a circumcision on a Jewish baby."
However, prosecutors said in their indictment: "The [woman] held the [child] in her hands and instructed him to sit in silence," and "the [woman] did not respond to the [child’s] crying and appeals, and continued to cut his skin in the upper part of the sexual organ."
The indictment asserted that the boy suffered minor swelling for three days after the circumcision and might need future surgery, but an urologist said in court: "I saw a cut that did not bleed during the examination, and there was no need for urgent intervention."
The urologist added, "In general, [the penis] doesn't look that way, though it's possible the circumcision should be completed the right way."
Prosecutors accused the woman of hurting her son to punish him for defecating in bed, which the woman and her lawyer denied, notes the Independent.
The woman took her son to a nursery school three days after the circumcision, and had him lower his pants so she could the explain the incident to the teacher, who subsequently contacted authorities. The child was transported to a hospital, and placed in foster care later the same day.
Authorities went to the woman's home, and took her two daughters into protective custody. The woman allegedly physically resisted the police at the time, and was charged with interfering with an officer.
The daughters were returned to the woman's partner a few months later, while the boy stayed with a foster family.