op-ed

Abortion In The Holy Land

Shutterstock/Shai Daniel

Myles Kantor Freelance Writer

The Bible describes Israel as “a Land that the Lord, your God, seeks out; the eyes of the Lord, your God, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to year’s end.” Reflecting that awareness, in 1942 Chief Rabbi Isaac HaLevi Herzog wrote about abortion in Israel vis-a-vis the slaughter of children in the Holocaust:

“It is a hideous sin, a double sin, against the laws of our holy Torah and against the future of our Jewish nation. It is a grave sin against the laws of our sacred Torah, which is a Torah of life, which desires life and the multiplication of life…And here divine justice has struck us, saying: You have learned the ways of the modern nations, to shed the ‘burden’ of large families, [and now] the evil people of the gentile nations are casting Jewish children into the water!”

Since statehood in 1948, at a conservative estimate there have been over 1.5 million abortions in Israel. Dr. Eli Schussheim of the Efrat Association commented last year that “more than a hundred children a day are thrown into a trash can.” Political scientist Rebecca Steinfeld notes that “Israel has one of the highest late-term abortion rates globally.”

Furthermore, abortion has become increasingly subsidized following its legalization in 1977. The annual cost of state-financed abortions has been estimated at over 20 million shekels (over $5.5 million). And so the aims of a 1976 protest described in former left-wing Knesset member Marcia Freedman’s memoir are now largely reality:

“The doctors were listening to a paper on the latest advances in obstetric surgery when a small group of women carrying placards and shouting slogans entered through a side door of the Hilton that led directly into the main ballroom of the hotel. The demonstrators marched noisily across the room and onto the dais. They stood facing the audience, shouting slogans that demanded legal and free abortion.”

Through the generations there have been prominent voices of opposition to these grievous trends. “You murder the children,” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik said in 1975 about abortions in Israel. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein called abortion on demand “a moral abomination,” and Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits wrote of “mass slaughter of the innocents in Israel, posing a security problem graver than any threats of war or terror.”

Overall, however, there is little domestic outrage over abortion, compared with say whether Natalie Portman went to Israel to receive a prize or the cost of cottage cheese in earlier years. If anything, the left cares the most about abortion insofar as it views present policy as insufficiently permissive.  

“We’re afraid what’s going to happen in Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel],” Rabbi Avigdor Miller said concerning abortions. “Their blood cries out from the earth.”

It’s way past time to hear.

Myles Kantor has written for many publications on subjects ranging from Israel to the sport of powerlifting.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.