Ma'an News Agency
January 12, 2011 - 1:00am

A Jewish woman should never get pregnant using sperm donated by a non-Jewish man – even if it is the last option available, a senior Israeli authority on Jewish law has asserted.

According to Rabbi Dov Lior of the Religious Zionism movement, a baby born through such an insemination will have the "negative genetic traits that characterize non-Jews," Israeli media reported Wednesday.

Lior's stance negated a ruling, widely accepted by rabbis, that sperm donated by a non-Jew is preferable to that of an anonymous Jew, who might pose a "genealogical risk," the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Lior, who reportedly addressed the issue during a women's health conference held recently at the Puah Institute, a fertility clinic, advised sterile couples to adopt rather than produce non-Jewish offspring.

A religious text "states that the character traits of the father pass on to the son," he said. "If the father in not Jewish, what character traits could he have? Traits of cruelty, of barbarism! These are not traits that characterize the people of Israel."

He added: "A person born to Jewish parents, even if they weren't raised on the Torah – there are things that are passed on in the blood, it's genetic. ... "If the father is a gentile, then the child is deprived of these things.

"I even read in books that sometimes the crime, the difficult traits, the bitterness – a child that comes from these traits, it's no surprise that he won't have the qualities that characterize the people of Israel," he added.

Lior also said that children born to single mothers are more inclined to criminality.

The rabbi's remarks come as rights groups warn of a rising tide of anti-Palestinian sentiment in Israeli society.

In recent weeks, about 300 rabbis have signed a letter calling on Jews to avoid renting or selling property to non-Jews, and right-wing groups have staged demonstrations warning against fraternizing with Palestinians.

The rabbis' letter drew widespread condemnation, including from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but a poll published in late December showed Israelis are evenly divided on the issue, AFP reported.


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