Christianity isn’t the only religion struggling with the growing tolerance for euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Professor Nahum Rakover, deputy attorney general of Israel, recently told a meeting of the American Zionist Movement that traditional Jewish law also forbids any form of assisted suicide of terminally ill patients.
Rakover said under Jewish law, it is not necessary to take extraordinary measures to preserve the life of terminally ill patients. At the same time, the law does not allow any active steps to hasten death.
In addition to his role as attorney general in Israel, Rakover is an ordained rabbi and a scholar of Jewish law (Halacha).
He said the “right to die” is not a human rights issue.
He also said that because mankind has a soul and is created in God’s image, humans cannot exercise ultimate control over their own lives.
Rakover said the values of justice and morality, as embodied in the Halacha, have served as the basis of democratic societies for centuries.
He called on his audience to incorporate life-affirming values into their daily activities.
“Our duty as Jews is to improve democratic ideals and advance the ethical and moral teachings of our faith,” he said.
Rakover joins leaders of other faith communities in calling for a renewed emphasis on life issues to combat euthanasia.