Israel flag in the wind isolated against the sky.

Israel flag in the wind isolated against the sky. Photo courtesy of via Shutterstock

JERUSALEM (RNS) A famously child-friendly country with a federally subsidized universal health care system that offers free fertility treatments, Israel has made it easier for economically distressed women to obtain an abortion.

The 2014 “health basket” of medical services and medications approved by Israel’s cabinet Sunday (Jan. 5) includes free abortions for Israeli women aged 20 to 33, regardless of the circumstances.

The $4.6 million earmarked by the Health Ministry committee will cover some 6,300 abortions for women who cannot afford the procedure.

In 2013, almost 20,000 women received permission to abort from hospital termination committees, according to Efrat, an organization that encourages women considering abortion to have their babies.

Until now, government-funded abortions have been reserved for women younger than 19 or older than 40, and in cases where the fetus has a severe defect, the mother’s life is endangered, or the pregnancy is a result of sexual abuse. If a woman believed the pregnancy would cause her harm, physically or emotionally, she had had to pay for the procedure herself.

Ruth Tidhar, who heads Efrat’s assistance department, said that in a country like Israel, where mothers receive paid maternity leave and preschool education is heavily subsidized, “it gives a mixed message when contraceptives aren’t funded by the government while abortions are.”

Judaism does not share the Roman Catholic belief that life begins at conception, but various Jewish streams have a range of opinions on the issue. The one thing most Jews agree on: That abortion is always permissible if the mother’s life is in danger.

Rabbi David Stav, the head of Tzohar, a modern-Orthodox rabbinical organization, criticized the new abortion guidelines.

In a TV interview on Arutz Sheva, Stav said it is “immoral” for the state to fund abortions that result from a mother’s “personal decisions” rather than serious medical problems.

“The state (will be) allocating resources for personal decisions,” said Stav that are “forbidden by Jewish law.”



    • You did not read the article.

      Your statement was just all kinds of ignorant.

      The Palestinian M.O. for the last 3+ generations has been to have as many kids as possible so they can demographically overwhelm the Israelis. It was the whole point of the bogus “right of return” thrown into every Arab League based “peace initiative”. Plus Palestinian leaders always considered women, children and young people to be expendable when stumping for publicity.

      The PA and Hamas want legions of young, desperate and uneducated cannon fodder. People who can be used as “weapons delivery systems” who won’t challenge their authority.

  1. Sounds like Israel as a nation is adopting the whole “secular Jew” thing, which in this country has served Judaism poorly by removing all Jewish identity from its adherents.

    It is a fact that the cultures whose leaders are looking to overcome and destroy their “enemies” are greatly assisted by their own increasing numbers and by the corresponding negative birth rates among the “enemy,” the “infidel.”

    If Israelis choose not to replace themselves, let alone increase their numbers, it won’t take more than a generation for “others” to use some of their own as cannon fodder (true) as they proceed to wipe out Israel and its Jews.

    No, I don’t advocate the Biblical “Increase and multiply.” But the failure to replace yourselves while others are multiplying and are belligerent is a prescription for annihilation or another diaspora.

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