Opinion

In Israel, Equating Abortion With the Holocaust

The propaganda of Efrat – The Committee for the Rescue of Israel’s Babies goes beyond demagoguery or cheap, it is despicable emotional blackmail

A billboard ad for the Israeli antiabortion nonprofit Efrat. The ad reads "The sorrow and regret."
Moti Milrod

The chairman of Efrat – The Committee for the Rescue of Israel’s Babies, who introduces himself in his yekke accent as “Dr. Eliyahu Yosef Schussheim, a millionaire from Jerusalem,” is a graying man who wears a yarmulke and speaks in a didactic staccato. He was given a chance to present his views on a feature called “Docotayim” on the Kan Broadcasting Corporation website, and his bottom line is that even if a pregnant 14-year-old old girl “continues her pregnancy, I can guarantee that she won’t regret it.” It is terminating the pregnancy, Schussheim declares knowledgeably and expertly, that will leave her with emotional scars.

“It’s inconceivable that because of money we will end life,” he says, angrily, and his organization will provide financial support. He terms the phenomenon of abortions in Israel “an epidemic.” Like swine flu, the plague or AIDS. An epidemic. Abortion is a fatal disease that murders fetuses. What is a fetus, from this perspective? It’s a very tiny baby. What is a very tiny baby? A person. His worldview, therefore, implies that whoever performs an abortion is a murderer. Whoever allows a woman to abort is spreading a deadly disease, a plague that kills babies.

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According to the doctor’s statistics, “It’s estimated that there are 60,000 abortions performed in Israel a year.” And he asks, “How is it possible that after we went through the Holocaust and came to Israel, there are 60,000 fetuses whose lives are terminated?” During the Holocaust six million Jews were systematically slaughtered. But the Jewish people, as a people, survived the Holocaust. They established the State of Israel, and today there are 6.5 million Jews here. On this background, Schussheim wonders: How is it possible that after Hitler systematically murdered six million Jews, in Israel the lives of 60,000 fetuses are terminated?

What does terminating life mean? It means to murder. To deliberately murder, with premeditation. A helpless creature, a fetus, a very, very tiny baby, a miniature person. After Hitler systematically murdered six million Jews, here in Israel they are killing 60,000 little Jews a year. That’s what Schussheim is saying. There is no other way to understand his remarks. There is no other way to understand the relevance of the first clause, which relates to the Holocaust, to the final clause, which relates to abortions. According to Schussheim, abortion is the continuation of the Holocaust by other means. Hitler wanted to destroy the Jewish people. Abortions are destroying part of the Jewish people. After all, as Schussheim says at the beginning of the item, a Jewish child that’s born will himself give birth to children, who in turn will also bear children, and so on.

Using the Holocaust as a reason to prevent a Jewish woman or teenager in Israel from having an abortion is beyond demagoguery or cheap, despicable emotional blackmail, which implies that a 14-year-old girl who has an abortion is collaborating with Hitler. This is the essential anti-liberal argument, which posits that a person is meant to serve the needs of the collective (just like an ant in its nest), and is not an individual with his own worth.