A new report has shed light on the prominent role played by Israelis in international organ trafficking.
The US daily New York Times said in a report published on Sunday that transplant brokers in Israel have pocketed enormous sums of money by arranging overseas kidney transplants for desperate patients who are paired with foreign donors.
Through the story of an Israeli woman, identified as Ophira Dorin, the report showed how easy it is to illegally purchase a kidney via transplant brokers in Israel.
Dorin told the daily that she paid USD 175,000 for a kidney transplant surgery which was arranged by brokers to take place in Costa Rica. However, a confidential Costa Rican court document shows that the donor, who was an unemployed 37-year-old man, received only USD 18,500 for his kidney.
“My situation was critical,” she said, adding, “I didn’t feel very good, and my condition was getting worse. Even if I knew it was illegal, I don’t think I would have done anything different.”
Based on the New York Times analysis of major organ trafficking cases since 2000, Israelis have played a ‘disproportionate role’ in organ trafficking.
The Israeli Health Ministry has said less than 10 percent of the Israelis are registered as organ donors. That is in part due to religious restrictions regarding death and desecration that have kept deceased donation rates so low among Israelis.
The Costa Rican authorities announced last year that they had uncovered an international organ trafficking ring that specialized in selling kidneys to Israelis and Eastern Europeans.
In 2012, at least 10 Israeli citizens were arrested for membership in an organ trafficking gang.
Israel admitted in 2009 that it had harvested organs from dead Palestinians without permission from their next of kin in the 1990s.