Knesset committee approves physician-assisted suicide bill

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset committee approved a physician-assisted suicide bill.

The bill passed the Ministerial Committee on Legislation Sunday by a vote of 8 to 2. The vote was appealed Monday by Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home party, who called the bill a “pill of death.”

The bill allows a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medicine to a patient who has been given six months or less to live; the doctor will not be held criminally responsible. The dying patient must be a citizen of Israel for at least five years at the time that the drugs are prescribed.

The bill, which is modeled after Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law, was proposed by Yesh Atid lawmaker Ofer Shelah.

The Israeli Medical Association has opposed the bill, as has Chief Rabbi David Lau, who told Israeli media that “doctors have been given the job of healing, and when they cannot heal, they have no right to kill.”

Lilach, the Israel Society for the Right to Live and Die with Dignity, called on Israeli lawmakers to support the bill.