A law legalising assisted suicide in Israel moved one step closer to reality this week, after an influential Knesset committee agreed that doctors could administer a lethal dose of medicine to those with less than six months to live.

458811835The euthanasia bill, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation by eight votes to two, was immediately challenged as “a pill of death” by Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach.

“Death is becoming a commodity or service granted to citizens,” he said. The poor doctors now have to supply death for terminally ill patients as well [as medical care]. This is a false liberalism.”

Orbach is joined in opposition by the Israeli Medical Association and Chief Rabbi David Lau, who said: “Doctors have been given the job of healing, and when they cannot heal, they have no right to kill.”

The Bill was brought by journalist and Yesh Atid lawmaker Ofer Shelah, who lost an eye in the Lebanon War, where he served as a paratrooper.

Israel already allows doctors to practice passive euthanasia, whereby physicians stop lifesaving measures, after years of negotiations with religious and medical officials resulted in legislation passed in 2005.