The Israeli Organization Fighting to Help Women Have Babies

Were it an American philanthropy, Efrat would probably be labeled “pro-life,” and grouped alongside the “crisis pregnancy centers”—usually run by Christian groups—that have stoked the ire of left-wing activists. But the watchword of this Jerusalem-based organization is “choice.” Mary Margaret Olohan writes:

Efrat has saved the lives of 83,467 children since its founding, according to the cheery signs on the wall in the pregnancy center’s storage center, where [its] executive director Nir Salomon energetically explained the pregnancy center’s mission to our visiting group of American Catholics. . . . He emphasized that Efrat aims to empower women to make their own choices about their babies without pressure from husbands, boyfriends, parents, or other outside influences.

“When a woman comes to us, we tell her, ‘You have an option to abort. It is legal in Israel. But you also have the option to have a child,’” he said. “And that is the unique proposition of Efrat.”

Efrat was founded by the late Holocaust survivor Herschel Feigenbaum, who . . . wanted to create a non-profit encouraging childbirth to replace the many Jewish children slaughtered during the Holocaust. . . . Many Israeli women considering abortion already have children, Salomon said, noting that 56 percent of the women Efrat helps are married. Often, a woman’s husband has told her that they cannot afford another child. Efrat wants these families to know that they can, in fact, afford another baby—and Efrat will help make that baby’s entry into the world smoother.

A family’s fear may boil down to something as simple as a crib, Salomon said. The family cannot afford a crib and thus feels like it cannot afford a child. That simple act of providing Israeli families with that crib, or even with diapers or formula, is a major game changer. . . . Concerns do not end there, of course. Many families want to know how they will afford their baby after he or she is born. Here Efrat also has an answer—for the first two years after the baby’s birth, Efrat sends the families a box of baby products and food every month.

Read more at Daily Signal

More about: Abortion, Charity, Children, Israeli society


The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law