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Israel – End of Life Issues

End of life care in Israel is an important aspect of healthcare that focuses on providing comfort, dignity, and emotional support to patients who are nearing the end of their lives. In Israel, end of life care is provided through a range of services, including hospices, palliative care units in hospitals, and home-based care.

Hospices in Israel

Hospices are specialized healthcare facilities that provide end of life care to patients who are terminally ill. In Israel, hospices are typically run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and are located in urban and rural areas. These facilities offer a range of services, including pain management, palliative care, and emotional support for patients and their families.

One of the most well-known hospices in Israel is the Emmanuel Hospice, located in Jerusalem. The organization was established in 2004 and provides a range of services, including inpatient care, outpatient services, and home-based care. Emmanuel Hospice also provides training and education to healthcare professionals to improve the quality of end of life care in Israel.

Local Customs and Practices when Someone Dies in Israel

In Israel, death is viewed as a natural part of life, and there are many customs and practices that are followed when someone dies. These customs and practices vary depending on the region and the religious beliefs of the individual and their family.

Mourning Period

In Israel, there is a period of mourning after someone dies. This period can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the region and the religious beliefs of the individual and their family. During this time, family members may wear black clothing and may refrain from participating in social events.


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Funeral Rituals

Funeral rituals in Israel vary widely depending on the region and the religious beliefs of the individual and their family. In many parts of Israel, burial is the preferred method of disposing of the body. The body is typically washed and dressed in new clothes before being taken to the burial site.

In Judaism, which is the predominant religion in Israel, the body is typically buried within 24 hours of death, and a shiva, a seven-day mourning period, is observed by the family of the deceased. In some parts of Israel, it is customary for mourners to gather at the home of the deceased and recite prayers or hymns in honor of the deceased.

Mourning Practices

After the funeral, family members may observe a mourning period for a set number of days. During this time, they may refrain from participating in social events and may wear black clothing to indicate their grief. It is also common for family members to receive visitors who come to offer condolences and support during this difficult time.

What to do When Someone Dies in Israel

If you are present when someone dies in Israel, there are several steps you should take.

  1. Notify the family: The first step is to notify the family of the deceased. If you are not a family member, you may need to contact a family member or friend to inform them of the death.

  2. Contact a doctor: If the person died at home, you should contact a doctor to verify the death and issue a death certificate. In some cases, the doctor may need to visit the home to confirm the death.

  3. Notify the authorities: Depending on the circumstances of the death, it may be necessary to notify the police or other authorities. For example, if the death was the result of an accident, the police may need to be notified. If the person died in a hospital or other healthcare facility, the facility may handle the necessary notifications.

  4. Make funeral arrangements: Once the death has been confirmed and the necessary legal formalities have been completed, the family will need to make arrangements for the funeral. This may involve contacting a funeral home or mortuary to arrange for the burial or cremation of the body.

  5. Notify relevant authorities: Depending on the circumstances of the death, it may be necessary to notify other authorities, such as the local registrar of births and deaths, the embassy or consulate if the deceased was a foreign national, or the insurance company if the deceased had a life insurance policy.

  6. Provide emotional support: It is important to provide emotional support to the family and friends of the deceased during this difficult time. This may involve offering a listening ear, providing practical assistance, or simply being present to offer comfort and support.

Palliative Care in Israel

In addition to hospice care, palliative care is also an important aspect of end of life care in Israel. Palliative care focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms to improve the quality of life for patients who are living with a serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease.

In Israel, palliative care is provided through a range of services, including palliative care units in hospitals, community palliative care teams, and home-based care. These services are provided by a range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.

End of life care in Israel is an important aspect of healthcare that focuses on providing comfort, dignity, and emotional support to patients who are nearing the end of their lives. Hospices and palliative care services play a critical role in improving the quality of end of life care in Israel, and efforts should be made to expand access to these services to all who need them.

When someone dies in Israel, there are many customs and practices that are followed, and it is important to be aware of these customs and practices in order to provide appropriate support and assistance to the family and friends of the deceased.

By following the appropriate steps when someone dies in Israel, we can help to ensure that the wishes of the deceased and their family are respected, and that they are able to receive the care and support they need during this difficult time. Additionally, efforts should be made to expand access to palliative care services to improve the quality of life for patients who are living with a serious illness.


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