The Knesset plenum approved in its preliminary reading the bill for Treatment for the Mentally Ill (amendment—forced hospitalization for those suffering from mental disorder) 2012, by Knesset Member Rachel Adatto (Kadima).

Eating disorders are considered a mental disorder and not a mental illness, and an adult with an eating disorder cannot be forced into hospitalization. The bill would enable forced hospitalization also for sufferers of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.

The bill’s explanation states, ”Israeli law allows forced hospitalization in cases where mentally ill people present a danger to themselves or to their environment. However, beyond those specified in the law, there are other mental conditions not categorized as mental illnesses which present tangible and immediate danger to the lives of those who are ill. In the case where a person in this condition refuses treatment, the law does not allow forced hospitalization, in which life-saving treatment could be administered.

”Anorexia, defined as an eating disorder, is a severe illness which affects not only the sick person`s body but their judgment and their mental and emotional stability. Every year in Israel 1,500 people join the destructive circle of eating disorders. Data shows that five percent of them will die.

”In severe phases of the disorder anorexics can drop down to thirty kilograms and even lower. Even when they reach this weight, anorexics claim they are at their ideal weight, and they only need to lose a few more kilograms. The majority of those with anorexia refuse treatment even at this severe stage, and so decree their own fate. This bill is presented for the purpose of treating people in this severe stage, by enabling forced hospitalization for them.

This bill therefore proposes enabling forced hospitalization also for people with this mental disorder, anorexia nervosa, as an addition to the law.

”The source of this bill is the families of the ill, who see their loved ones die before their eyes, and the doctors who do not have the power to hospitalize and save them. Since the judgment of these sufferers is warped and mistaken, it is not moral to accept their opposition to hospitalization meant to save their lives. Therefore the defined purpose of this bill is to save lives.”

Forty MKs supported the bill, which passed with no opposition. The bill will pass to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee in preparation for its first reading.