Israel’s health ministry has admitted to injecting female Ethiopian Jewish immigrants with a birth control drug in an effort to reduce their birthrate and control the immigrant population.
Last Sunday the Haaretz newspaper published a letter written by Ron Gamzu, the director general of the country’s health ministry, in which he responds to comments made by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and ordered several organisations treating Ethiopian women to stop administering birth control injections. In the past, the Israeli government has denied giving contraceptive drugs to cut the birth rate among immigrants.
In his letter, Gamzu advised gynecologists treating Ethiopian women in official health ministry clinics not to renew prescriptions for the drug Depo-Provera in case the patients did not fully understand the consequences of taking it. Gamzu added that doctors should call on translation agencies to ensure that the patients had understood these consequences before taking the birth control drugs.
ACRI and five other activist groups have accused the country’s authorities of a “racist attitude”, and criticised the limitations set for Ethiopian women in choosing their own birth control method.
Activist groups have conducted studies showing that the birth rate in Israel’s Ethiopian community has decreased by half over the last decade. Ethiopian women received 57% of all Depo-Provera delivered in the country, although they account for less than 2% of the total population, according to a study released in 2009.
Depo-Provera, a prescription drug, is thought to be highly effective. The women receiving the drug require injections every three months. Adverse side-effects include menstrual irregularities, weight fluctuation, depression, hair loss, headaches and skin blemishes.
The announcement generated a huge amount of controversial comments in social networks such as Twitter.
Ethiopians in Israel
In modern times, the first Ethiopian Jews settled in Palestine, alongside Yemenite Jews, in around 1934. They were immigrants and descendants of the immigrants of the Beta Israel communities of Ethiopia. Between 1963 and 1975, a small group of Ethiopian Jews emigrated, most of them illegally, to Israel.
Between 1979 and 1990, during the Ethiopian Civil War, approximately 7,200 Ethiopian Jews sought refuge in Israel. In 1991, the Israeli government organised “Operation Solomon” during which more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were transferred to Israel.
Today Israel is home to the largest Jewish-Ethiopian community in the world. More than 120,000 Beta Israelis live in the country. The majority of Ethiopian Jews are in urban areas of central and southern Israel.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1International investigators reach MH17 crash site in Ukraine
- 2Ukrainian prime minister’s triumphant speech after resignation rejected
- 3#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians
- 4Fresh Israeli shelling hits UN school injuring scores of children
- 5Rosetta the comet hunter arrives at its target
- 1Caught on camera – children drugged and beaten in Romanian kindergarten
- 2Scientists baffled by two new holes discovered in Siberia
- 3Russia defiant in face of tough EU-US sanctions
- 4#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians
- 5Gaza: Deaths at Jebalya school after Israeli strike
- 1#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians
- 2Air Algerie plane ‘crashes’ over Sahara
- 3Eastern Ukrainians ‘hate Russian-led guerrillas’ — Arseniy Yatsenyuk
- 4Ukraine: ‘Disappointment’ at Yatsenyuk resignation
- 5Caught on camera – children drugged and beaten in Romanian kindergarten
Wires > News
- 05:15 CET Disappointment, uncertainty after India blocks WTO trade deal
- 03:57 CET Taiwan gas blast kills 22, injures 270, shoots flames high into…
- 02:42 CET Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in…
- 02:07 CET For wandering tankers with $300 million of Kurdish crude, end-game…
- 00:47 CET Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729
- 00:01 CET Iraqi Kurds, battling Islamist threat, press Washington for arms
- 23:11 CET Game of thrones- Afghan leadership vacuum raises summit questions
- 20:00 CET Ukraine premier stays on, envoys agree on crash site route