Above: Rambam Medical Center
Haredi Boy Tries To Refuse Life-Saving Anti-Cancer Treatment Because Haredi Rabbi Promised Refusing It Would Heal Him
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A 16-year-old haredi teen has released an online video asking Israelis to demonstrate in front of a Haifa hospital to force it to allow him to stop anti-cancer treatment and, if necessary, die with dignity.
The boy, who wants the Rambam Medical Center to discontinue chemotherapy, fled the hospital without permission last week and was brought back by police who enforced a court order, the JTA reported.
“Dear people of Israel: I ask anyone who can to come demonstrate here, at the entrance to Rambam Medical Center, against the forced treatment they want to impose on me. Anyone who has the opportunity – please come and demonstrate here so that they won’t force me to undergo treatment in handcuffs.…Even if I have to die, let me die with dignity – that’s all I ask,” the teen, who is from the northern city of Tiberias on the shore or the Sea of Galilee, reportedly says in the video.
But this is not a case of a patient rejecting what he believes will be futile, painful treatment.
The boy’s parents also oppose chemotherapy treatment for their son because their rabbi promised them that if they stop the chemotherapy and bring the boy home, he will be healed. The parents say that forcing the boy to have chemotherapy against his will (and against the will of his rabbi) will harm their son emotionally.
A court-appointed social worker reportedly told the court the boy – whose cancer has been in remission twice since his cancer was first diagnosed six years ago – does not understand his diagnosis or his treatment plan.
In a statement, Rambam Medical Center – one of Israel’s leading medical institutions – said it had “treated the boy for more than a year now, with all of the hospital staff investing unlimited time and energy to save his life – including repeated applications to the welfare authorities and the court.”
Update 1:52 am CDT 7-28-2015 – Despite what you may have read in the comments below, it really was a haredi rabbi who told the boy and his family to turn down chemotherapy.
Who is that rabbi?
According to a report in the Israeli haredi news website Beharei Haredim, it is Rabbi Dov Kook, a 'kabbalist' who is a grandson of the late Ashkenazi haredi supreme rabbinic leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyahiv Elyashiv and a son-in-law of a senior haredi rabbi, Yitzchok Zilberstein.
Meshi Zahav, Grossman and the other rabbis finally had to go to Kook to convince him to allow the boy to undergo the chemotherapy. After hours of arguing, Kook finally agreed – but only of the #2 Ashkenazi haredi rabbinic leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky agreed. Meshi Zahava and Gross man then went to Kanievsky who quickly ruled the boy should have chemotherapy.
Kook is considered by many observers to be playing with less than full deck. In the non-haredi world, this is detriment. But to uneducated and superstitious haredim, rabbis who are really seriously OCD or who suffer from other mental illness are venerated as holy men.
In this case, that veneration could easily have cost the boy his life.