Center for Bioethics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

July 2003


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.


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.



Date Posted: 13 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.