Oct 24, 2021

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Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of Judaism’s most leading Torah authorities in the modern age,issued a new ruling stating that paramedics in Israel responding to terror attacks should not treat injured terrorists.

The rabbis comments were made during a meeting with Hatzalah, a volunteer medical emergency response service, reported Arutz Sheva. The heads of the organization first received a blessing from the rabbi and then took the opportunity to inquire about Jewish law in the situation that is all too common during the wave of terror that has plagued Israel for several months.

The rabbi instructed those gathered that according to Torah law, in cases in which it is clear to the paramedics who among the wounded is the terrorist, paramedics should not treat the terrorist before those wounded in the attack, even if the terrorist is more seriously injured.

Rabbi Kanievsky also ruled that if the terrorist was in a life threatening condition, they should leave him or her to die. He explained further that if the identity of the terrorist is not clear, then the paramedics need to treat all of the injured in the area so as to avoid a case in which a victim of an attack would not receive treatment.

The issue of treating an injured terrorist over a less injured victim has become the focus of a major political, religious and ethical debate in Israel recently.

The Israel Medical Association (IMA) announced last month that paramedics must treat injured at a terror scene according to the severity of their condition with no consideration to whether the injured person is a victim or terrorist.

Official IDF policy for medics and the policy for Magen David Adom is to treat the most seriously injured first, without differentiating between terrorist or victims.

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, chairman of the ZAKA emergency response organization, stated in reaction to the IMA ruling: “In spite of the ethical code that says one should treat the most severely injured first, one should know that even morality has its boundaries. If we do not make this distinction, we lose our direction.”

Meshi-Zahav directed ZAKA volunteers “to first treat the Jewish victims of a terror attack – without blinking an eye. Only after they have been given medical assistance, should they begin treating the murderous terrorist who carried out the attack.”