A decision by the Hadassah University Hospital here 10 days ago to transplant a kidney from the body of a Jewish student killed in Hebron to a 13-year-old Arab girl from a refugee camp near Nablus has touched off a storm of controversy in Israel's Orthodox Jewish Community.
Posters have appeared in the Orthodox district of Mea Shearim declaring that the student, Jehoshua Sloma, was "wounded in Hebron and murdered in Jerusalem," and an Orthodox member of the Knesset (parliament) has charged that the kidney transplant violated Orthodox prohibitions against desecration of the human body. Orthodox Jews oppose autopsies and the issue of post-mortem operations is scheduled to come up in the Knesset soon.
Sloma, who was shot twice in the head and mortally wounded by an Arab assailant in central Hebron, was taken to the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem, near here.
When he died, three physicians approved the transplant opeation, according to the head of the hospital's surgery unit, Arye Durst. One of Sloma's kidneys was given to a Jewish patient from Beersheba and one was given to the Arab girl.
The girl, whose name was not disclosed, reportedly had been vocal in her criticism of Israel and her support of the Palestine Liberation Organization. She was said to have worn a medallion with a PLO symbol.
The criticism of the transplant, first raised by Knesset member Menachem Poroush, of the Orthodox-backed Agudat Yisrael Party, has focused more on the issue of religious opposition to desecrating the human body than on political implications.
Members of the ultra-Orthodox Neturi Karta sect, which placed the posters in the Mea Shearim, are anti-Zionist, believing Jews had no right to establish a secular state before the return of the Messiah. They openly sympathize with the PLO and thus have not injected politics into the kidney transplant controversy.