Center for Bioethics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

July 2003


Reprinted in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Volume 12, Issue 3, July 2003, pages 247-255. Publisher URL: 10.1017/S0963180103123055

NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Vardit Ravitsky was affiliated with the Gertner Institute for Health Policy Research, Tel HaShomer, Israel. Currently March 2007, he is a faculty member in the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.


Unlike most Western nations, Israel does not recognize full separation of church and state but seeks instead a gentle fusion of Jewish and democratic values. Inasmuch as important religious norms such as sanctity of life may clash with dignity, privacy, and self-determination, conflicts frequently arise as Israeli lawmakers, ethicists, and healthcare professionals attempt to give substance to the idea of a Jewish-democratic state. Emerging issues in Israeli bioethics—end-of-life treatment, fertility, genetic research, and medical ethics during armed conflict—highlight this conflict vividly.



Date Posted: 13 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.