JERUSALEM (Feb. 10)
Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shloma Goren is expected to issue a halachic decree declaring that the transplant of kidneys from a deceased person to save the life of another is permissible under Jewish law and is in fact a “mitzva.”
Goren initiated the ruling apparently to still the furore in some Orthodox circles over the transplant of a kidney from slain yeshiva student Yehoshua Sloma to a nine-year-old Arab girl at Hadassah Hospital. Sloma, 23, was totally shot by unknown assailants in the Hebron market place on January 31. He was a resident of the militant Orthodox town of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron.
Religious circles protested vehemently that the transplant was done without the prior consent of the youth’s family and that the recipient was violently anti-Israel. According to Aguda Israel MK Menachem Porush, she is “known for her enthusiastic support of the PLO.” Goren rejected that complaint, saying it made no difference whose life was saved.
The Arab child was identified as Amira Bukassah. She lives in a refugee camp near Nablus and had been coming to Hadassah Hospital regularly for dialysis treatment. The selection of Sloma’s kidney was made on the basis of corresponding blood types. The transplant surgery was performed 45 minutes after Sloma was pronounced dead. A Beersheba resident was the recipient of the other kidney. A spokesman for Hadassah Hospital said the transplants were mode according- to low and on the recommendation of three doctors who signed the authorization.