By Remy Servis

In Israel, like in many other countries around the world, the sale of organs for transplantation is illegal. However, a new policy established this week by the National Transplant Center– an organization formed by Israel’s Ministry of Health in 1994– guarantees that donors will still be protected and compensated for their contributions.

Donors will be financially reimbursed for up to five years—considering both the scope and breadth of the protections and services offered to donors, it could be argued that Israel’s compensation program is one of the most progressive and thorough ones of our time. Firstly, donors receive NIS (Israeli New Shequel) 2700 (approximately $700 USD) for travel expenses, as well as financial coverage to make up for any time lost from working. They receive NIS 540 ($140 USD) per night during their hospital stays, and even a small stipend for any psychological support appointments they may require. Perhaps most admirably, this new policy also provides support for the donors’ futures; an extensive “security belt” of resources provides a donor with medical coverage for future health issues, life insurance, special priority if a future transplant is needed, and exemption from health taxes.

While this plan is very commendable, the motives behind the tremendous, all-around level of support offered here must be considered. It seems likely that Israel is providing these benefits in order to draw in more people to donate organs. Israel is a small country whose population is only equal to that of New York City’s; however, the country still faces the same persistent domestic organ shortages that larger countries do. Additionally, it seems as if current donations are only happening between relatives and close friends. A statistic about kidney donations for the first half of 2015 show that the majority of donations happen between relatives or close friends, which suggests that these donors are emotionally invested in the donation and would perhaps still donate even if these benefits weren’t involved. With this new increase in financial and health care support, hopefully more people will be enticed to non-directed donation-— that is, donating to an unknown, unrelated recipient.

To read the full article in The Jerusalem Post, click here.