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Doctors Should be Able to Refuse Treatment on Religious Grounds: Israeli Lawmaker

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avatar by i24 News

A Magen David Adom ambulance. Photo: David King via Wikimedia Commons.

i24 NewsA lawmaker from Israel’s far-right Religious Zionism party said on Sunday that doctors should be allowed to deny treatments that go against their religious beliefs, provided another doctor is available to treat them.

In an interview with Kan Radio, Orit Strock stated: “If a doctor is asked to give any type of treatment to someone that violates his religious faith, if there is another doctor who can do it, then you can’t force them to provide treatment.”

“Anti-discrimination laws are just and right when they create a just, equal, open and inclusive society,” she continued.

“But there is a certain deviation in which religious faith is trampled upon, and we want to amend this. The law must not treat Jewish law as something of lesser value.”

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Such treatments could include those involving fertility for unmarried women or a doctor refusing treatment to a person of the opposite sex or a member of the LGBT community. Although this type of debate isn’t unique to Israel, it comes at a time where the incoming government is finalizing coalition deals before the swearing-in deadline – January 2.

Lawmaker Simcha Rothman, also from the Religious Zionism party, tweeted on Sunday a statement agreeing with Strock: “Let’s make it simple. Liberty means that people can also do things that I do not like. Freedom of speech means that one can also say things that are unpleasant about religious people, Arabs or LGBTQ+.”

“Freedom of occupation means that a person is also allowed not to behave nicely to clients, and boycott or not, and the clientele will or will not punish him for it,” the tweet continued. “That is liberty. Shocking, right?”

The doctor’s union in Israel came out against Strock’s statement, calling it a violation of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors must take. Doctor’s in the Jewish state must treat everyone, including terrorists injured in attacks against the country.

In a statement to the press, prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu called Strock’s words “unacceptable.” He continued: “The coalition agreements do not allow for discrimination against LGBT people or for harming the right of any citizen in Israel to receive service. Likud will guarantee that there will be no harm to LGBT people or any Israeli citizen.

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