"Circumcision is a vital part of the Jewish identity, both for religious and secular Jews," Israeli Ambassador Raphael Schutz said, as quoted by the Norwegian newspaper Fjordabladet. "As the representative for the Jewish state, the embassy wants to express its disappointment [over the Progress Party's decision] and hope that the measure will be reversed," Schutz continued.
Progress Party MP Kari Kjønaas Kjos explained to the Norwegian Christian newspaper Dagen that she voted in favor of the ban in order to protect children's rights and admitted that the negative reaction was no surprise for her.
"For us, this is about children's rights to control over their own lives. This is about altering an otherwise healthy child, without the child having the possibility to object," Kari Kjønaas Kjos said.
"I urge anyone wishing to retain an organized Jewish life in Norway to vote for any party other than the Progress Party in the fall," Ervin Kohn, the chairman of the Norwegian Jewish Confederation DMT tweeted.
Friends of Israel (VINA) leader Marius Gaardner called this decision "the most problematic" since WW2 and ventured it was "more serious than various boycott proposals against Israel." He also called it a "direct attack on the Jewish minority in Norway," the Norwegian organization With Israel for Peace (MIFF) reported.
At present, Norway has a tiny Jewish community of about 700 people. The Jewish diaspora reached its peak at about 2,100 people, but suffered dramatic losses under the Nazi occupation of Norway, which lasted between 1940 and 1945.
The exact percentage of Muslims in Norway remains a matter for debate, yet has been rising steadily since the late 1960s and is currently said to hover at around 3.8 percent of the Norwegian population of 5.2 million. In urban areas, such as Oslo County, however, the percentage is creeping closer to 10 percent.
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