ISRAEL'S parliament passed its far more comprehensive legislation in 2008 by a wide margin, including votes from Shas, the mainstream ultra-Orthodox party, and it is to take effect after a huge campaign to explain the new regulations and their complicated point-based system to the public.
But Israel's unwieldy system of coalition government makes implementation uncertain.
The Health Ministry's legal adviser, Mr Meir Broder, seemed to suggest the final formula was unsettled, saying it was still being fiercely debated among ethicists, lawyers, doctors and religious leaders.
'We are trying to find the point of balance between encouraging people to sign donor cards and not penalise those who don't,' he said, but didn't elaborate.
The debate derives from Judaism's tricky definition of death.
Most leading Orthodox rabbis - as well as Israeli law - agree that a person dies when his brain-stem stops functioning. A minority opinion, endorsed by Elyashiv, holds that as long as a person's heart beats he or she is alive and therefore the organs cannot be harvested. Donation in Israel after cardiac death is rare and only done in special circumstances.
One prominent ultra-Orthodox Jew who endorses the law is Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of Zaka, a widely admired first aid and rescue service. He says everyone should obey his rabbi, but he carries a donor card and says 'Preservation of life overrides everything.' Robby Berman, founder and director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society, a Jewish organisation based in New York, said ultra-Orthodox Jews can't have it both ways.
'My position is if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem,' he said. 'Every Jew has a right to be against an organ donation, but then you can't come and say 'give me an organ'.' -- AP