Rabbi Stav
Rabbi StavYoni Kempinski

Rabbis of the Tzohar rabbinical organization expressed support this morning for yesterday's Supreme Court ruling rejecting petitions against the law allowing the forced feeding of security prisoners on hunger strike.

The organization explained its rationale for the support: Judaism teaches that man's life was given to him by the Creator; therefore man does not have the right to hurt himself – even for the sake of important values. This prohibition, in turn, includes damage to oneself caused by self-imposed starvation.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, the head of the ethics committee in Tzohar, noted that medical ethics establishes that a doctor needs to do everything in his power to save the life of his patient; likewise "if a prisoner is likely to die or suffer irreparable damage as a result of a hunger strike, he must certainly be force fed."

Rabbi Cherlow also noted that the death of a political prisoner is likely to cause chaos and deterioration in the security situation; these factors create an additional reason to allow the forced feeding of prisoners.

Rabbi David Stav, who chairs Tzohar, said, "Man was created in the image of God and is not permitted to damage that gift. The government of Israel does right when it anchors that value within its decisions."