by Steven Ertelt
January 10, 2008
Jerusalem, Israel (LifeNews.com) — The pro-life members of Congress are in Israel this week to help Jewish leaders there combat the growing scourge of abortion in their nation. Their visit comes just weeks after the chief rabbinic council in Israel released a new opinion about abortion confirming it constitutes a “grave sin."
Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey, who heads the pro-life caucus in the House of Representatives, is joined on the trip by Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia and Congressman Joseph Pitts from Pennsylvania.
They visited with Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and expressed their concern that abortion is slowing the Israeli birth rate compared to their Palestinian neighbors.
They also praised him for his December opinion saying abortions for socioeconomic reasons or the mother not wanting the baby are wrong.
They also met with members of the Knesset to help lawmakers promote pro-life laws to reduce or eliminate abortions there.
According to the YNet news service, Shas MK Chaim Amsellem said he would establish a group of pro-life legislators who would work closely with their American counterparts. They also discussed a joint meeting in the U.S. between pro-life congressmen and Jewish pro-life leaders.
As LifeNews.com reported in December, Metzger released an opinion saying, "The vast majority of abortions are unnecessary and strictly forbidden according to halacha because they are carried out even when the pregnancies do not endanger the mother’s health."
He and other leaders said abortions are delaying the coming of the Messiah, who Jews believe was not represented by Jesus Christ.
Jews typically believe that the Messiah will not come until all of the children who could be born to Jewish mothers are born.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger — two leading Jewish figures in the nation — both supported the council’s decision.
The Rabbinic Council of Chief Rabbinate also said it would establish a new committee that would examine methods of reducing abortions in Israel.
About 50,000 abortions happen in the middle eastern nation annually and about 20,000 of them are done within the confines of current law.