Ritual Female Genital Surgery Among Ethiopian Jews Academic Article uri icon


  • Ritual female genital surgery is usually associated with Muslim countries although it is normative also among Ethiopian Coptic Christians. Ethiopian Jewish women immigrants to Israel report that ritual female genital surgery was normative in their culture in Ethiopia, but expressed no desire to continue the custom in Israel. This contrasts with Israeli Bedouin Muslims, who were reported to regard ritual female genital surgery as an important part of their identity. Physical examination of 113 Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women in Israel found a variety of lesions in about a third of women, with 27% showing total or partial clitoral amputation. The heterogeneity of the physical findings contrasts with uniform verbal reports in interviews of having undergone a ritual of female genital surgery.

publication date

  • January 1, 1997