State to compensate families of soldiers whose organs were secretly harvested
‘No compensation can fix the wrongs that were done,’ families’ lawyer says
The state will pay NIS 3 million in compensation to the families of three deceased IDF soldiers whose bodies were mishandled during autopsies, according to a settlement reached Wednesday.
The families had sued the state after they discovered that the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute had saved tissue and organs from the soldiers, as well as other individuals, after unauthorized autopsies.
“No compensation can fix the wrongs that were done to these families,” their lawyer, Elad Eisenberg, told Channel 2 News, “but it is a significant settlement.”
Other families are still in negotiations with the state prosecutor regarding improprieties in the treatment of their relatives’ bodies at Abu Kabir.
In January, investigations revealed that the institute, under the leadership of Dr. Yehuda Hiss, kept more than 8,000 body parts in storage after autopsies caused an uproar.
Already in 2005, Hiss, chief pathologist of the institute, admitted that the institute had harvested heart valves, skin, and bones from the bodies, but said that the practice no longer took place.
Following the revelations in January, the Knesset held hearings on guidelines for handling dead bodies.
“Our paramedics and rescue workers risk their lives to bring to Jewish burial every part of the bodies of people killed in accidents and attacks,” MK Uri Maklev said. “It is unthinkable that, from every human body examined at Abu Kabir, they take off pieces and keep them in jars of formaldehyde.”
Health Ministry Director-General Ronny Gamzo said that the tissue samples and organs belonging to the autopsied bodies will be buried within three months.
State Prosecutor Moshe Lador added that the state has taken major steps “to respect the dead.”