Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
Surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital (1996)

Israel has an organ supply problem.

Organ donation card holder numbers are among the lowest in the western world, with only 13% of the population having signed an organ donation card. In part this has to do with a religious aversion to desecrating the body after death, in a larger part, it’s because organ donation has not been properly promoted.

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Many poskim (religious deciders) have come out for organ donation, and have publicly signed organ donation cards.

But I can tell you this, most people in Israel have no idea where to get an organ donation card (I know they have them in hospitals, but I have no idea where else).

In 2008, Israel changed the law and gave preference in receiving organ transplants to people with organ donor cards. This resulted in a jump in donors.

This week, a new government bill proposes to radically change the organ donation market in Israel. It is sponsored, among others, by the token secular MK from Jewish Home, Ayelet Shaked.

This new bill makes my skin crawl.

They are not launching a campaign to promote the concept of organ donation, or to make it easy to find and sign a checkbox authorizing your organ donation.

Instead, the State wants the default intent of a departed person to have been, by law, to donate his or her body parts–unless they had specifically filled out a form that says they didn’t.

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky they’re even letting us opt out at all.

This bill, as it is proposed, is yet another example of the Bolshevik state treating its citizens like chattel.

And yes, I’m aware that many countries have the opt-out system, but the United States, which has a completely opt-in system, has one of the highest signatory rates in the world. Because they make it so easy to sign up or give consent (whenever you renew your driver’s license there’s a check mark on the form), and because they’ve spent a lot of time and money on educating the population on the obvious advantages of keeping other people alive even after we die.

In Israel, where the State reaches into your bank account whenever it wants, it almost makes sense that the next stop would be your body parts. After all, it’s all for the “greater good”.

So I ask you, which “greater good” is next on their list?

My body belongs to me, not to the State.

It is beyond presumptuous on the part of the government to think they have the tacit right to do what they want with my body and my organs.

If they want it, let them convince me, let them promote it, let them make it quick, easy and available to sign up.

But don’t ever presume that the State has the right to grab it away from me without my expressed permission.

I hope this bill does not pass. And if it does, I hope everyone chooses, in protest, to immediately opt-out.

Afterwards, I recommend everyone opts back in, for the benefits, for the huge mitzvah, and because i’ts the right thing to do, for each individual. For the State this is literally a mortal sin.

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JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.