Avi Cohen 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The widow of recently deceased soccer star Avi Cohen defended on Sunday her
decision to not donate his organs despite his carrying a donor card, rejecting
reports that it was a result of pressure applied by extreme religious
“The decision was mine,” Dorit Cohen told Army Radio on Sunday.
“I wanted Avi whole.”
Cohen lay in a coma for nine days following a road
accident, and a day before his passing away on Wednesday, was pronounced brain
dead. Having signed an ADI organ donation card, his family began authorizing the
removal of organs to save other lives. An official in the Chief Rabbinate
confirmed that Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar told the family that in
principle, Halacha permits removing organs for donations in cases such as these,
without ruling on this specific case.
According to reports, ultra-
Orthodox men – perhaps affiliated with certain Breslav courts in Jerusalem –
talked the family out of its intention to remove his organs while his heart was
still beating, which they said would be a grave sin.
“We still had hope,”
Dorit Cohen, who was still sitting shiva, the seven-day mourning period, told
the radio station.
“Avi was a strong, healthy man, and I knew that the
moment Avi would emerge from his coma he’d fight... we believed that Avi would
wake up and overcome the severe injury,” she said.
“The rabbis didn’t
pressure me, I was detached from the whole issue, in my own world, my own
struggle, in my faith, supported by everyone,” Cohen said on Sunday. “The
decision was mine... I don’t wish upon anyone to be forced to decide whether to
donate the organs of the person you love most.”
Cohen was not unaware of
the fact that she was going against her late husband’s own wishes that his
organs might be used to save others people’s lives.
“If he could, Avi
would have said ‘do it,’” she said, but defended her decision and noted the
life-saving deeds the soccer star had done before, and even after his
“I don’t think anyone can judge me – Avi had done so much over the
years to help people. Even in his death people will become more aware of the
proper use of helmets, and how to drive,” she said.
Meanwhile, MK Ilan
Gilon (Meretz) is promoting legislation to give a signed ADI card the legal
status of a will, that cannot be changed after the card carrier’s death, and
solve the dilemma that families such as Cohen’s might face in a very difficult
“This will protect the families from all kinds of rabbis who
exploit people in distress, by turning the signature into an irreversible fact,”
he said on Sunday, despite Cohen’s denial that such was the case in her