Religious-Zionist rabbis ban students from donating blood due to form options

A number of religious-Zionist yeshivas have banned their students from donating blood due to a form that reads 'parent 1 and parent 2'

The IDF holds a blood drive in light of the coronavirus crisis (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The IDF holds a blood drive in light of the coronavirus crisis
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A number of religious-Zionist rabbis and yeshivas have banned their students from donating blood to Magen David Adom after the form filled when donating blood changed its language from reading "mother" and "father" to "parent 1" and "parent 2."

Yeshivat Har Hamor and Yeshivat Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of other religious-Zionist yeshivas, forbade their students from donating blood due to the form change, according to Kipa news.

According to B'Sheva reporter Dvir Amar, a letter sent to students in Yeshivat Mitzpe Ramon stated that the yeshiva saw the change in the form as an "intentional blurring of the true and healthy idea of family."

The letter warned that the change in the form would shape the public consciousness and "weaken the healthy family consciousness and the national identity." The letter added that MDA had promised to print out the old form for the yeshivas to use so that students would continue to donate blood.

LGBTQ youth protest against far right Noam party at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (credit: Courtesy)LGBTQ youth protest against far right Noam party at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (credit: Courtesy)

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a hardline religious-Zionist leader, stated in a responsum on the Srugim news site that MDA was "putting lives at risk" by changing the language of the form.

Aviner stressed that those who fill out the form are "supporting sinners" and "giving legitimacy" to them, adding that it is not MDA's mission "to engage in politics, but to heal people, and not to endanger people because of the diminishing blood donation.

"Every granting of legitimacy begins with a change of language," added Aviner. "One rabbi in England raped a woman in the community. When apprehended he did not deny it and stated: I admit it is not acceptable. Heaven forbid! Is this the problem? If adultery were acceptable would it become permissible?"

A number of government bodies and organizations have changed the language of their forms in recent years to read "parent 1 and parent 2" instead of "mother and father," in order to be more inclusive to couples that don't consist of a mother and father, such as same-sex couples.

Aviner is the founder of Atzat Nefesh, an organization that offers conversion therapy, among other services. The rabbi has often been in the center of controversy surrounding statements concerning the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and other social issues. 

Rabbi Tzvi Tau, the president of Yeshivat Har Hamor, is one of the founders of the Noam Party. The party, represented by MK Avi Maoz in the current Knesset, campaigns against a variety of topics, including the LGBTQ+ community, work and public transportation on Shabbat, the Women of the Wall movement and the silencing of right-wing and religious movements.

In 2019, before the second Knesset election, the party set up booths around the country manned by activists handing out pamphlets explaining Noam’s plan to make Israel “a normal nation” with anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-reform movement slogans.