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Apr 6, 2010

Litzman's transplant intervention

The Israeli media is up in arms and all upset at Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman again. This time it is because he spent the last Shabbos helping a sick Haredi child arrange a liver transplant abroad, in Belgium. This despite the fact that there are 151 patients in Israel waiting for liver transplants, along with hundreds of others waiting for other transplants. (source: Ynet)

The question is not really why Litzman helped this poor child - that is his job, both as Deputy Minister of Health and more so as a human being in position to help. The question is if he tries as much to help other people.

Is it ok that Litzman gets involved more with Haredi patients than with non-Haredi patients?

On the one hand, he did attain his position as a representative of the Haredi community. He is meant to represent them before others. That is what he is in the government to do.

On the other hand, he has achieved a position that gives him responsibility for more than just his own sector of voters and he has equal responsibility to all citizens and residents of Israel, and he should not be giving some preferential treatment.

Perhaps the reason he intervened with this patient is simply because this patient asked for his intervention. Did others ask for his intervention and he refused? Did they not ask? Perhaps he would intervene on anybody's behalf, if only they asked.

Also, I have heard, though it has not been confirmed, that the patient is in the family of a very famous Haredi family. While it never seems fair when celebrities get special assistance from politicians and others simply because of their fame and influence, the fact is that they do get it. If this child is really a member of a "celebrity" family, that may well explain why and how they had the influence to get the deputy health minister to intervene on their behalf..


  1. I really, really like the idea of giveng precedence to people who are, or whose immediate family members are, signers of donor cards.

    I am, as are my two adult children. We are also regular blood donors. If you don't give, you don't deserve as much to get as those who are. My husband isn't signing yet, but he thinks this is fair that those who sigm get preference.

    My convictions are reinforced by having known a lot of people waiting for kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, etc.

    After I'm done with it, I want G-d and my fellowman to see that my body is used for those still living. I won't need it then.

  2. he ended up sending the kid to Belgium, but he was first working on italy. Israel is not signed on the international agreement of sharing organs, which would allow other countries to share with Israel.
    Italy refused the liver to israel, unless it would promise to give Italy a liver in exchange at a future date. Litzman refused, because we do not let our organs out to other countries.
    In the end Belgium agreed.

    I wonder what would have happened if Belgium also would have refused unless Israel agreed to similar terms. He would have been stuck. Would pikuach nefesh then override this policy?


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