End-of-Life Medical Decisions in Israeli Law – How Jewish Law Represents a Balance Between Principlist and Situationist Approaches to Medical Law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Jewish law on the “end of life” teaches that nobody is expected to suffer and that for certain individuals, death might be better than life. However, these observations need to be illustrated on the backdrop of the prohibitions of direct killing, the public interest in the preservation of life and the integrity of medicine. Although Israeli law is a secular legal system, a hybrid of common law and continental law, it has developed similar lines of reasoning to Jewish law on matters pertaining to the “end of life”. Israeli judicial processes address “end of life” issues by means of primary legislation, which is quite elaborate. Case law has also developed original and flexible interpretations to ceasing life support in order to benefit certain patients even though it may shorten their lives at times. Contemporary Israeli law contains elaborate structures of proxy and assisted decision making. While these are not formally connected to Jewish law, we argue that rabbinic law is influential in these contexts as well. The paper analyzes the development of Israeli law along these lines, demarcating three major tracks: Jewish Law, Case law and Primary Legislation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy and Medicine
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Pages105-115
Number of pages11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePhilosophy and Medicine
Volume136
ISSN (Print)0376-7418
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0080

Keywords

  • Competence
  • End of life
  • Israeli law
  • Jewish law
  • Patient near death

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