Abortion was major problem in pre-state Israel

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

Israel Today has written numerous times regarding the scourge of abortion that continues to be a black mark on the Jewish state. But this problem is nothing new, and was perhaps even more pronounced prior to 1948.

New research to be presented at Hebrew University next week reveals that abortion was the most common form of birth control in the pre-state "Yishuv," the term for the Jewish resettlement of the land.

In her lecture titled "Abortions as a Reflection of the Yishiv's Complexity," Prof. Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman intends to shed light on a community that was at once trying to create a Jewish majority and appear as "modern" as European countries where having large families was not en vogue.

More important than that was the severe lack of economic and personal security in pre-state Israel, leaving many Jews to feel they simply could not afford to bring more children into their world.

Official statistics are almost non-existent, but Rosenberg-Friedman was able to arrive at her conclusion by examining British Mandate records regarding birth rates and by conducing thousands of interviews with Jewish women alive at the time.

Sandy Shoshani, director of the Messianic-run pro-life organization Be'ad Chaim, confirmed these conclusions, saying that women alive at the time had acknowledged undergoing a dozen or more abortions in their younger years.

Today, many Israelis still use abortion as a form of birth control, especially when there is even the slightest suspicion of physical defects in the unborn child.

Likewise, many women who feel unequipped to care for a new child will choose abortion. These are the women that Be'ad Chaim and similar groups are trying to reach by offering assistance and counsel, and the number show they are having a big impact.

To learn more about Be'ad Chaim, visit their website: www.beadchaim.com

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