Israel's newly-passed health budget for 2014 includes a significant increase in government funding for legal abortions, a move that Sandy Shoshani, national director of the pro-life organization Be'ad Chaim, says is a serious indictment of the nation's spiritual condition.
Last month, the Health Basket Committee - which annually decides which medications, treatments and procedures will be covered or subsidized by the government - determined that the previous practice of paying for abortions for women under the age of 19 and over the age of 40 wasn't enough.
Included in the new budget is 16 million shekels (USD $4.5 million) to also cover abortions for women between the ages of 20-33.
While all women seeking a legal abortion must receive special approval, the committee in charge of making that decision rubber-stamps 97 percent of requests, or well over 20,000 abortions each year.
Reports in recent years were that abortion rates were falling in Israel, despite the Jewish state's very liberal laws on the matter. Since the 1990s, there had been a 20 percent drop in the number of legal abortions requested and performed. But the new legislation and government funding are expected to result in an additional 6,300 abortions per year.
Shoshani sees a clear financial incentive in the decision. "It's one thing for a government to approve abortion, but it's another thing entirely to pay for it," she told Israel Today.
While the thousands of new abortions are going to cost Israeli taxpayers, the government's new direction represents a boon for cash-strapped hospitals.
Abortion is typically a simple procedure that nevertheless costs between 3,000-4,000 shekels. Doctors and hospitals can quickly process thousands of abortions and reap the financial rewards. At the same time, that money could have been used for other life-saving medications, procedures and research.
That Israel's government would regard the lives of unborn babies in so flippant a manner is evidence that "the moral fibers of our nation are in shreds," said Shoshani, who warned that "you can't bring a curse on your nation and not expect repercussions. We just opened the door wide and made ourselves vulnerable."
Determined to do what they could, Shoshani and the staff of Be'ad Chaim (which means "Pro Life" in Hebrew) "sent letters to every Knesset member we could think of, and even to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."
Shoshani lamented that while "we received a few letters back saying they (the Knesset members) agree with us, no one is actually doing anything."
Ultimately, as Shoshani noted, "there is really not much we can do besides put this matter and our leaders before the Lord."
Of course, as we have written before, there is much more that Be'ad Chaim can and is doing. The Messianic-run organization, with branches throughout the country, works tirelessly to provide the financial and emotional support needed by those who would otherwise feel they had no alternative but to terminate their unborn children.
Israel Today has been proud to offer the annual Be'ad Chaim wall calendar in our online store for the past couple years. The calendar features the pictures and stories of babies saved from becoming abortion statistics.
CLICK HERE to get your "Living Fruit" wall calendar now!