Israel's Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau has responded to a letter sent by the wife of administrative detainee Meir Ettinger, in which she appealed for her husband to be released to attend his firstborn son's brit milah (circumcision).
Ettinger has been held without charge for more than seven months, as security officials accuse him of coordinating an amorphous group of "Jewish extremists."
Dozens of his relatives protested last night in central Jerusalem, calling for him to be allowed to attend his son's brit.
In response to the letter from his wife, Rabbi Lau turned to Prisons Service Commissioner, Lieutenant General Ofra Klinger, and asked her to reconsider the decision not to allow Ettinger to attend.
In his appeal to Klinger, Rabbi Lau noted that "The brit milah is one of the most important mitzvot to the Jewish people, and testifies to the covenant between the people of Israel and God, and as such is one of the most important events in the life of a father, so there is no doubt that not attending his son's brit milah will cause him pain for the rest of his life."
Concluding his letter, Rabbi Lau appealed for Klinger "to make every effort to find a way for Mr. Ettinger to take part in his son's brit milah – of course, with all the required and relevant security procedures."
Ettinger's family have refused an offer by the Prison Service to hold the ceremony in prison as unacceptable.