(JERUSALEM- June 16, 2015) Amidst a growing controversy within the Israeli government and justice system over responses to planned “hunger strikes” in the country’s prisons, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization said that forced feedings of prisoners to prevent them doing harm to themselves is fully acceptable under Jewish law.
Tzohar’s announcement came following a governmental decision earlier in the week which allowed prison authorities to force nutrition upon prisoners in instances where self-imposed hunger strikes posed a danger to the patient’s well-being.
“In Jewish tradition, human life is something which is given to us by God and it is not up to us to harm our own bodies- even if it is for something one views as having great value. This includes taking upon oneself a hunger strike,” Tzohar said in a statement. “We therefore concur with the government’s decision that when viewed as judicially prudent, prisoners can be forced to intake nutrition and this action would be in accordance with halacha and salutes the Jewish outlook on the centrality of human life.”
Tzohar Founder and President Rabbi David Stav added, “The human body was created in God’s image and we as people have no right to intentionally harm that creation. I therefore believe the government decision was the correct one and should be respected.”