The Jerusalem Post reports:
…Ninety of the Knessets 120 members were persuaded over several months by Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee chairman MK Shaul Yahalom to sign a potential organ donor card distributed by the ADI organization. The other 30, most of them secular, refused for "personal or family" reasons, while haredi and other religious MKs declined mostly for "religious reasons." …
Health Minister Dan Naveh said that only 4 percent of the population, or 270,000 Israelis, bear an ADI organ donor card. Every year, an average of 100 patients die for lack of a donor organ, and 100 more suffer a deterioration in their health while waiting in the queue.
Tel Aviv University biomedical ethics expert Prof. Amos Shapira said he opposed compensation for live organ donors because it would be "unjustified and unethical as long as organ donations from cadavers did not reach their potential. It would give legitimacy to people to harm themselves. It is clear that these donations would come from the poor." Shapira added that such compensation would not wipe out the black market in organs. "I am in favor of incentives for organ donation from cadavers. Families who donated their loved one’s organs should have priority in receiving organs, and money can be given in the form of participation in funeral expenses or a discount in health taxes," he said.
But Shmuel Yelenick, a Hebrew University legal expert, said that he favored compensation to live donors as well as families of deceased donors because of the many people who die waiting for an organ donation.
Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Halperin, the Health Ministry’s chief medical ethics adviser and a physician, said that while saving lives was a major commandment, one may not kill someone to save a life. He added that the Chief Rabbinate was unwilling to encourage the signing of ADI cards as long as proper supervision and setting down conditions for removing organs was not agreed upon. Halperin said that the Chief Rabbinate took this position when Prof. Avinoam Reches, a senior Hadassah University Medical Center neurologist, withdrew his consent for a representative of the rabbinate to be involved in this supervision.
Of course, what Rabbi Dr. Halperin fails to mention is the original dispute goes back to the halakhic definition of death. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein considered brain stem death to be halakhic death. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurebach, influenced by ‘medical advisors’ (Rabbi Halperin among them?) who misrepresented brain stem death and the procedures necessary to confirm it, originally ruled against accepting brain stem death as halakhic death. When confronted with evidence of his ‘medical advisors’ malfeasance, Rabbi Auerbach retracted. That retraction was not published by Rabbi Auerbach before his death and was not published by his handlers after it. However, a copy of Rabbi Auerbach’s retraction was published by Rabbi Feinstein’s family.
As might be expected, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv opposes equating brain stem death with halakhic death. Like his rulings on the Rabbi Slifkin Ban, Indian-hair wigs, etc., Rabbi Elyashiv’s reasoning is based on bad information – information that Rabbi Elyashiv surely knows to be flawed. But the evil one of Mea Shearim consistently refuses to correct his mistakes and has proven himself to be far less than honest.
So more people will die waiting for organs. What a holy man.