Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.
The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.
One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.
The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.
“The data ... point to a paternalistic, haughty and racist attitude that limits considerably the freedom of Ethiopian immigrants to choose the birth control that is medically suitable for them.” ACRI said statistics from a major Israeli health provider showed that it had administered Depo-Provera injections to 5,000 women in 2008, 57 percent of whom were Ethiopian.
Gal Gabbai, the show’s anchor, reported that in the past decade, approximately 50,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel. During that period, the birth rate among this community, which has traditionally favored very large families, has plummeted by nearly 50 percent.
Several women interviewed by Gabbai said that they were told at the transit camps in Ethiopia that they had to receive the shots if they wanted to immigrate to Israel and continue receiving medical treatment from the JDC. Furthermore, many of the women claimed they were never told that the shots were to prevent pregnancy. Rather, they were under the impression that the shots were vaccinations.
A hidden camera in a local health clinic recorded a Ethiopian woman being told by a nurse that this shot is given “primarily to Ethiopian women because they forget, they don’t understand, and it’s hard to explain to them, so it’s best that they receive a shot once every three months… basically they don’t understand anything.”
Israeli authorities denied all of the allegations. However, Gabbai revealed an official letter that she uncovered from the Health Ministry to Dr. Rick Hodes, the director of the JDC Medical Programs in Ethiopia. The letter praised the doctor’s work, noting that whereas fewer than 5% of Ethiopians use any form of birth control, Hodes achieved a rate of 30% among the patients he treated.
these women must have missed that memo detailing how israel belongs to the white man
Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli daily Maariv published an interview with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in which he stated that most of the "Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man."