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Israel: Prohibition of Genetic Intervention Extended

(Oct. 20, 2009) On October 13, 2009, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) extended the application of the Prohibition of Genetic Intervention (Human Cloning and Genetic Change in Multiplying Cells) Law 5759-1999 until May 23, 2016. The Law was initially applicable for five years, but was later extended. Explanatory notes for the extension bill state that the extension is necessitated:

especially in light of the fact that the concerns and lack of knowledge on the implications of implementing cloning techniques in humans still exist in the state they were prior to legislation of the amendment, and of the fact that the global debate on the ethical and legal aspects of the subject still vigorously continues without any decisive determination.

(Prohibition on Genetic Intervention (Human Cloning and Genetic Change in Multiplying Cells) (2nd Amendment) Law, 5770-2009 [in Hebrew], Oct. 13, 2009, the Knesset website, available at http://www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/18/3/447_3_1.rtf.)

The 1999 Law generally prohibits human reproductive cloning and the use of multiplying cells that underwent germ line gene therapy for the purpose of creating humans. The Law allows, however, genetic intervention if authorized by the Minister of Health, based on the determination that it would not harm human dignity, and with the recommendation of the Superior Helsinki Committee appointed in accordance with the Public Health (Medical Experiments in Human) Regulations, 5741-1980. (Prohibition on Genetic Intervention (Human Cloning and Genetic Change in Multiplying Cells), Law 5759-1999 [in Hebrew], 1697 SEFER HAHUKIM [Official Gazette] 47 (5759-1998); Germline Gene Therapy, UCLA Earth & Space Sciences website, http://www.ess.ucla.edu/huge/germdef.html (last visited Oct. 19, 2009); see also Peter Roudik, RUSSIAN FEDERATION – Ban on Human Cloning Extended for Five More Years , GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Oct. 16, 2009, available at http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_1630_text.)