JERUSALEM (JTA) – A haredi Orthodox teenager has released a video calling on Israelis to demonstrate in front of a Haifa hospital to demand that it discontinue his chemotherapy treatment.
The 16-year-old from Tiberias, who was unnamed, said in the video released Sunday that he was receiving the treatment against his will.
“Dear people of Israel: I ask anyone who can to come demonstrate here, at the entrance to Rambam Medical Center, against the forced treatment they want to impose on me,” he said in the video. “Anyone who has the opportunity, please come and demonstrate here so that they won’t force me to undergo treatment in handcuffs.”
The teen reportedly left the hospital without permission last week to evade the treatment, but was brought back by police under a court order.
“Even if I have to die, let me die with dignity – that’s all I ask,” he said in the video.
The teen’s parents also reject the hospital’s desire to give their son chemotherapy, saying it will harm his emotional health. They also reportedly have said that their family rabbi told them to halt the treatment and bring him home, where he will regain his health.
He has been in remission twice since his cancer was diagnosed six years ago.
A court-appointed social worker told the court that the teen does not understand his diagnosis and treatment plan, the Times of Israel reported.
“The hospital has treated the boy for more than a year now, with all of the hospital staff investing unlimited time and energy to save his life – including repeated applications to the welfare authorities and the court,” the hospital said in a statement.