By Michael Cook
Israel is in the middle of a heated debate about assisted suicide. A ministerial committee has approved a bill which would allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to Israeli citizens with less than six months to live and exempts doctors from liability for the death.
The bill is said to be supported by a majority in the Knesset and the Israeli public. However, it is firmly opposed by religious leaders. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau expressed his opposition, saying that “a doctor can be a healer, but when he is unable to heal he does not have the authority to kill. He may give pain medication, even in heavy doses, as death nears, but cannot kill.”
And in the Jerusalem Post Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel writes:
“Israel is not Belgium, the Netherlands, or the State of Oregon. The State of Israel is the Jewish state, and religious affiliations aside, Judaism values life above all. In Judaism, life has sanctity. A law legalizing physician-assisted suicide threatens to undermine the Jewish character of the Jewish state.
“It’s high time we embrace our status as a ‘light unto the nations.’ As the [Saharon] Shelah bill proceeds to a preliminary reading and is assigned to a committee, the State of Israel, as the Jewish state, has an obligation to articulate a clear message to the world that life has value and sanctity, and must be protected and preserved.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at bioedge.org.