Special Section: International Voices 2010

Commanding the “Be Fruitful and Multiply” Directive: Reproductive Ethics, Law, and Policy in Israel


As of June 2009, Israel’s population was 7,424,400 people, 5,604,900 of which were Jewish, 1,502,400 were Arabs, and approximately 317,200 had no religion or are non-Arab Christians. Established in 1948, Israel is a highly urban and industrialized country. Its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (based on exchange rate) is US$23,257, positioning it among the European developed countries. Life expectancy is 79 years for males and 82 years for females, with infant mortality rate of 4 cases per 1,000 live births. Of Israel’s GDP, 7.7% is spent on health.

Daniel Sperling, S.J.D., B.A. (Philosophy), is a faculty member in The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government and Braun School of Public Health & Community Medicine, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mont Scopus.