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Chief Rabbi, Health Ministry Disagree over Sale of Organs


Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau has issued a religious edict allowing the sale of organs for transplant — on the condition that the donor faces no harm to his or her own health as a result.

Lau conveyed his views in a meeting with Dr. Gabi Barabash, director general of the Health Ministry, which opposes the sale of organs.

According to Barabash, Lau said, “Jewish religious law does not rule out the organ donations for money.”

Lau warned that such a policy was still problematic because it could create a situation in which people may donate organs for economic reasons.

But Lau’s position drew sharp opposition from Health Minister Yehoshua Matza.

“There will be no trade in organs in the State of Israel, when many sectors are living below the poverty line. It is unthinkable that citizens will bring home a loaf of bread after selling an organ.”

Matza said he was shocked that Lau would express such an opinion at a time when socioeconomic gaps were a focus of public debate.

Barabash said the Health Ministry’s position was in line with that of the World Health Organization — against the sale of organs.

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