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:
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Sweden becomes first EU country to recognise the Palestinian State | euronews, world news
- 3Italy swamped by flash floods | euronews, world news
- 4Back to School for Romania’s new First Lady | euronews, world news
- 5What will you ask US Senator John McCain? | euronews, world news
- 6Turkish president Erdogan unveils his new palace of a thousand rooms | euronews, world news
- 7India PM Modi appoints Yoga minister | euronews, world news
- 8[Live] Rosetta’s Philae lands on comet 67P and enters the history books | euronews, world news
- 9Vladimir Putin most powerful man in the world – Forbes | euronews, world news
- 10European e-revolution people rise up | euronews, world news
- 11International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 12Where is the best place in Europe for women? | euronews, world news
- 13Nadia Comaneci: gymnast of perfection and defector | euronews, the global conversation
- 14Putin plans to leave G20 talks early amid Ukraine pressure | euronews, world news
- 15Transcript of hanged Iranian woman’s final message released | euronews, world news
- 16Irony as organised crime prosecutor arrested for corruption in Romania | euronews, world news
- 17Syria: Islamic extremists pledge to press ahead with battle for Kobani | euronews, world news
- 18Anti-immigration protests in Rome | euronews, world news
- 19Portugal: Ex-PM José Socrates held in corruption probe | euronews, world news
- 20European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
Wires > News
- 01:09 CET Missouri governor urges calm ahead of grand jury decision on…
- 23:29 CET Putin strengthens ties with Georgia breakaway region; Tbilisi…
- 22:39 CET Hagel, under pressure, resigns as U.S. defence secretary
- 22:05 CET EU lawmakers trade insults, Juncker set to survive censure motion
- 21:04 CET Saudi Arabia says Islamic State ordered attack on Shi’ites in…
- 20:20 CET U.N. to miss December 1 Ebola target due to rising Sierra Leone…
- 20:19 CET Baghdad car bomb kills eight people, fighting west of capital
- 19:39 CET Suspected Boko Haram militants attack Nigerian border town