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Organ donor bills pass Knesset

The Knesset enacted two laws aimed at encouraging organ donation and transplants in Israel.

One bill, passed in second and third readings late Monday, bans organ trafficking in Israel and sets a $5,000 cap on the compensation that can be offered to live donors. But the measure also includes an incentive in the form of an exemption from mandatory health insurance payments.

The Israeli parliament also legislated the creation of a committee of medical, religious and ethical experts who will determine guidelines for when brain death has taken place, allowing for the harvesting of organs. The panel is meant as a response to myriad objections by pious Jews and members of other faiths to the possibility of prematurely removing organs from a patient or violating the dignity of the dead.

Israeli doctors have long complained of a chronic shortage of organs for transplant, with many needy candidates opting to pay privately for treatment abroad.

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