A Knesset subcommittee has decided upon a series of benefits for kidney-donors - a compromise basket somewhat smaller than the all-inclusive package that MK Avraham Ravitz had asked for.
Ravitz, a rabbi, teacher, and Knesset Member of the United Torah Judaism party, has strong feelings about the issue of kidney donations. He received a kidney from one of his sons several years ago.
A member of the Knesset Welfare Committee debating the government-sponsored Organ Transplant Bill, Ravitz submitted a major objection to the proposed legislation. He wished to ensure a series of benefits for kidney donors in order to encourage people to donate kidneys. His goal was to save the lives of the many who have been waiting, sometimes for years, for a healthy kidney.
Ravitz's original proposal was far-reaching. He wanted kidney donors to receive an exemption from income tax and municipal taxes, discounts on public transportation, scholarships, free entry to public parks, a certificate of honor, and more. His fellow subcommittee members were largely against the idea, fearing it would encourage the sale of organs.
After weeks of negotiations among the MKs, a compromise was finally reached on Tuesday. The final package of benefits to be accorded kidney donors will include recognition as a chronically ill patient, granting them an exemption from sick fund payments. They will also be accorded free entry to national parks, in recognition of their act.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), the chairman of the subcommittee dealing with the law, expressed satisfaction with the compromise. "The wording of the law as voted on today is the golden path between the need to encourage organ donations and the need to avoid trading in organs for profit," he said.