A perspective on U.S. embryonic stem cell research from Israel

As we have blogged before, there are a host of different beliefs about embryonic stem cell research and about when life begins. This diversity of perspectives is sprinkled across the globe. Too often in the U.S. people take an ethnocentric view of this question, believing that everyone else should think the same as they do.

There’s an interesting article from Joy Resmovits in Forward that compares attitudes about and funding for embryonic stem cell research in Israel and in the U.S.

In the article, Resmovits discusses how in contrast to the U.S. where there is divisive debate in this area that obstructs research, in Israel the government and public actively support such research. The end result is that per capita, Israel is 10 times more productive than the U.S. in this research area. She points out that in Judaism, life does not begin until at least 40 days after conception, making the few-day old blastocysts used to produce embryonic stem cells, merely clusters of a few dozen cells and not human beings.

5 Comments


  1. Interesting. IIRC the Catholic Church used to hold a simmilar view, but changed it to their current stance sometime in the nineteenth century.


    • PA84, do you have a reference for that?
      I have been very interested in the historical evolution of views on when life begins. Islam and Judaism have had fairly constant views on this for hundreds to thousands of years, both seeing roughly day 40 as a crucial time during gestation for when an embryo/fetus becomes endowed with life, while Christianity seems less clear. For example, to my knowledge there are surprisingly no clear statements in the Bible on when life begins.

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