The land of no milk and no honey: force feeding in Israel

Zohar Lederman, Shmuel Lederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2015, the Israeli Knesset passed the force-feeding act that permits the director of the Israeli prison authority to appeal to the district court with a request to force-feed a prisoner against his expressed will. A recent position paper by top Israeli clinicians and bioethicists, published in Hebrew, advocates for force-feeding by medical professionals and presents several arguments that this would be appropriate. Here, we first posit three interrelated questions: 1. Do prisoners have a right to hunger-strike? 2. Should governing institutions force-feed prisoners and/or is it ethical to force-feed prisoners? 3. Should healthcare professionals force-feed prisoners? We then focus on the first and third questions. We first briefly provide several arguments to support the right of prisoners to refuse treatment. Next, we critically review the arguments presented in the Israeli position paper, demonstrating that they are all misguided at best. Lastly, we briefly present arguments against force-feeding by medical professionals. We conclude that healthcare providers should not participate in the force-feeding of prisoners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-188
Number of pages31
JournalMonash bioethics review
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Monash University.


  • Force-feeding
  • Israel
  • Political prisoners
  • Torture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The land of no milk and no honey: force feeding in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this