JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar called on the Israeli public on Monday to fight the "abortion epidemic" in the country.
In a letter sent to all rabbis countrywide, the chief rabbis cited this week's Torah portion from Exodus that tells of the Hebrew midwives who refused Pharaoh's edict to kill all newborn males by casting them into the Nile.
Rabbis Metzger and Amar asked the nation's spiritual leaders to teach on the "biblical prohibition to kill fetuses in their mothers' wombs."
Three years ago, the Chief Rabbinate formed a committee to fight the estimated 50,000 abortions taking place in Israel each year. Jewish law prohibits abortions except in extreme circumstances when the mother is in danger of losing her life.
"The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is appalled by this horrifying data, indicating that this is a true epidemic costing the lives of dozens of Jewish souls every year," the chief rabbis wrote.
Since the rabbis' call to action, rabbis across Israel have given an "Exodus sermon" in which they remind their congregations of the biblical prohibition against killing fetuses.