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      Hareidi MKs Support Euthanasia Bill

      A new euthanasia bill passed its first reading in the Knesset Law Committee this week, and many observers were surprised to find among its supporters the United Torah Judaism party.
      First Publish: 3/23/2001, 3:32 PM

      A new euthanasia bill passed its first reading in the Knesset Law Committee this week, and many observers were surprised to find among its supporters the United Torah Judaism party. The bill would allow persons suffering from a terminal illness to instruct physicians not to use artificial means to prolong their lives. MK Rabbi Avraham Ravitz (UTJ) explained to Arutz-7 that the proposal was changed to meet halakhic [Jewish legal] requirements: \"First of all, we are not talking about any active act to shorten life, but rather certain passive acts. The patient must still be granted oxygen, liquids, and food. Of course, the determination whether a patient is actually terminally-ill will be made according to standards that we will be able to accept...\"

      The bill demands that two persons who do not stand to gain anything from the patient’s death be witnesses to the patient’s request not to use artificial life-saving means. The proposal will be brought for its preliminary Knesset reading after the Pesach vacation, several weeks from now. MK David Tal of Shas, who also supported the bill, said afterwards, \"With broad understanding, it\'s possible to reach agreement even on a bill like this, which is complex from the standpoint of Halakhah and values but is important for the entire public.\"