Israel to ‘probe’ birth control for Ethiopian immigrants (Again…)

Maan News Agency | Febr 27, 2013

JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel’s Health Ministry has ordered an investigation into whether government employees or health workers prescribed a birth control drug to Ethiopian immigrant women as a way to control the population.

Haaretz reported on Thursday that a senior official had decided to name a team to look into charges that Ethiopian women were given Depo-Provera shots in an effort to limit the growth of their community in Israel.

Confirming the report, a ministry spokeswoman replied in a written statement that the ministry would “re-investigate the issue which was examined in the past, to ensure that there was no such directive from any governmental or other Israeli public organization.”

Suspicions that Ethiopian women had been coerced into receiving Depo-Provera arose in Israeli media a few years ago and again in a recent TV documentary linking the group’s falling birthrate to over-prescription of the injectable contraceptive.

Israel’s government already said in January it would review the case after a civil rights group accused the health ministry of racism.

The ministry has already ordered doctors not to renew Depo-Provera prescriptions unless they were convinced patients understood the ramifications, according to a letter from the ministry posted on the group’s website in January.

Ministry Director-General Roni Gamzu said at the time that the decision did not imply he accepted the allegations by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.

In a letter to Gamzu in January, ACRI said “the sweeping use of Depo-Provera among Ethiopian women raises heavy suspicions that we are talking about a deliberate policy to control and monitor fertility among this community.

“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 it had administered Depo-Provera injections to 5,000 women in 2008, 57 percent of whom were Ethiopian.

Complaints of discrimination

Israel has denied any policy to curb the birthrate among the 100,000 Ethiopian Jews who have moved to Israel since chief rabbis determined in 1973 that the community had biblical roots.

Some Ethiopian Jews have made it into Israel’s parliament and officer ranks in the military, but complaints of discrimination in schooling and housing are common.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approved Depo-Provera in 1992, its prolonged use may reduce bone density and it should only be used for longer than two years if other birth control methods prove inadequate.

The documentary, broadcast on Israeli Educational Television, shows a nurse filmed by a hidden camera saying Ethiopian women were given Depo-Provera because they “don’t understand anything” and would forget to take birth control pills.

Rick Hodes, medical director in Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a non-governmental group that aids immigration to Israel, denied the accusation that women are coerced into receiving the injections before leaving their country for the Jewish state.

“Injectable drugs have always been the most popular form of birth control in Ethiopia, as well as among women in our program,” Hodes wrote on Twitter.


Dec 13, 2012

DepoFor some years now, Israel is forcing Ethiopian women to accept or are coerced to be injected with contraceptives. This is a flagrant violation of the human fundamental right to reproduction.

Although Israeli media use the term “sterilization” which is now causing (again) some international -for Israel- unwanted awareness  and protest, now certain sources mention it is okay to force women to coerced birth control in order to remain in a legitimate residence status:

It remains “blackmail” and a severe violation of every women’s rights.

Time to raise your voice and create awareness!

Already in January 2010 Jonathan Cook wrote about “Israel’s treatment of Ethiopians ‘racist’” (Source) as a tool of ethnic cleansing or preventing demographic increase of ‘black Jewish” people.

But long before this article in 2008, an article discussing a deliberate policy of prescribing the “Depo Provera” contraceptive method to women of the Ethiopian community in Israel was published in one of the Israeli daily newspapers.

Report: Depo Provera: prescription policy among women of the Ethiopian community in Israel

Another video report from 2010

[Must-watch] Racist birth control for Ethiopian Jews in Israel

The Law on Reproductive Rights in Human Rights Treaties and at UN Conferences

The values that underscore reproductive rights are embodied in the oldest and most accepted human rights documents—the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, governments explicitly acknowledged, for the first time, that reproductive rights are grounded in already existing human rights obligations. Representatives of over 180 nations agreed that women needed to be empowered to take charge of their reproductive lives, that unsafe abortion is a public health concern, and that forced sterilization has no place in family planning efforts.

The Cairo Conference marked a turning point. The following year, at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, governments pledged to guarantee reproductive rights for all women. United Nations and regional human rights bodies started to urge governments to respect and ensure women’s reproductive rights. Women in Africa and those with disabilities, meanwhile, won crucial recognition of their rights to control their reproductive lives and to live healthy lives in two new human rights agreements, the 2008 UN Disability Rights Convention and the 2005 Protocol on the Right of Women in Africa. These gains set the stage for legal breakthroughs that would expand women’s access to reproductive healthcare.

Update Jan 27, 2013

  • Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shotsHaaretz
Click to enlarge the article

Click to enlarge the article


  • Israel guilty of Genocide (this time against Africans) Article 2(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births – Human Rights Web


For more information about the right of reproduction visit

Follow ReproRights on Twitter

The next article was published in media on the topic:

Dec 10, 2012 | Blogs Forward | By Renee Ghert-Zand

Shocking Decline in Ethiopian Israeli Birthrate

The birthrate among Ethiopians in Israel decreased by a dramatic 50% in the last decade, and Israeli journalist Gal Gabai wanted to know why. She investigated the issue for “Vacuum,” her documentary series on Israeli Educational Television, and she discovered some things that left her very uncomfortable — and will surely leave others equally so.

Educational Television posted Gabai’s 25-minute report, titled “Where did the children disappear to?” on YouTube on December 6, two days before it was scheduled to air on channel 23.

In her attempt to find out what the story was behind the shocking statistic, Gabai interviewed Ethiopian women immigrants and learned from them that they were given Depo-Provera (a contraceptive injection containing the hormone progestin administered once every three months) against their will. While some did not understand what the shots were for, others felt pressured into taking them in response to alleged threats that they would otherwise not be allowed to immigrate to Israel. The shots began in the refugee camps in Gondar, continued in the transition camps in Addis Ababa, and continued on after their arrivals in Israel. According to the women’s testimony, this continuity appears to have been a coordinated effort between the medical staff at the clinics in Ethiopia run by the JDC and doctors in Israeli hospitals and clinics.

The women, it seems, were never given proper family planning counseling outlining the various birth control methods, nor were they given the chance to choose the one with which they felt most comfortable. What were they given? The clear message that life would be very hard for them if they were to have large families in Israel.

Some of the women interviewed said they were told that birth control pills were not suitable for them because they were not capable of remembering to take them daily. Video shot with a hidden camera during an Israeli health clinic visit by an Ethiopian immigrant, during which she gets a Depo-Provera shot, indeed documents healthcare providers expressing this exact opinion of Ethiopian women.

Gabai interviewed a female gynecologist who expressed shock at hearing that just about all Ethiopian women are given Depo-Provera shots, saying that it is rarely prescribed and usually recommended only for women who are institutionalized or developmentally disabled (in other words, women who cannot be relied upon to practice other methods responsibly). A male medical expert, however, said Depo-Provera is no big deal and that he had heard that it was the primary means of birth control in Ethiopia in general.

An Ethiopian man who works for the Absorption Ministry denied knowledge of any program to suppress the Ethiopian birthrate, and three kessim, or Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders, emphasizing that all is God’s will, also claimed to know nothing about the alleged forced family planning practices.

A women who works to absorb Ethiopian children and families into Israeli society expressed her astonishment at perceiving a “missing generation” of Ethiopian children and asked why this particular group has been targeted in this way. “We have other disadvantaged populations in Israeli society, like the Haredim and Arabs, and no one ever thought to impose a birthrate suppression plan on them,” she said.

As would be expected, the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry the Jewish Agency, and the JDC all responded to Gabai’s findings with letters denying any intervention in family planning issues among the Ethiopian immigrants.

Gabai proposed a number of motives that could be behind what she uncovered. It could have been “an intention to do good, to prevent poverty, and to help with the adjustment to Western urbanized living.” Or, it could have involved “economic calculations to reduce immigration and absorption costs… or in the worst case, an attitude that looks at Ethiopian children as unworthy.”

“This story reeks of racism, paternalism and arrogance. It’s a story to be ashamed of,” Gabai concluded.

Clearly, more digging needs to be done to get to the bottom of this story. What remains to be seen is whether or not Gabai has actually blown the lid off it. Gabai and her bosses obviously care about the issue — but will enough other Israelis and Jews?

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz), for one, does care. Following the airing of Gabai’s report, he submitted an official request to Israel’s attorney general Yehuda Weinstein for the launching of a criminal investigation. Gilon emphasized that the women were exposed to drug and hormone related side effects, of which they were not made aware. “It cannot be that the serious news of this invasive interference with the rights of Ethiopian immigrant women’s control over their own bodies will go without redress,” he wrote.

In Haaretz:
Israel’s Ethiopians suffer different ‘planned’ parenthood / Efrat Yardai
Haaretz 11 Dec — The revelation that Israel is sterilizing Ethiopian women adds to a shameful history of abuse of powerless women and communities — It’s hard to believe, but in Israel, in 2012, Ethiopian women are forced to receive injections of the Depo-Provera contraceptive. This injection is not a commonly prescribed means of contraception. It is considered a last resort and is usually given to women who are institutionalized or developmentally disabled. Yet according to an investigation recently aired on the “Vacuum” documentary series hosted by Gal Gabay and shown on Israeli Educational Television, it is also given to many new immigrants from Ethiopia. This is not the first or only case where the state has interfered in the lives of people who have limited means of resistance.
link to

Racism against Africans deeply rooted in all policies

AD201010701059823ARFor updates on racism against Africans: I recommend you follow David Sheen on twitter, who is doing tireless efforts to keep all informed about the facts and events concerning the plight of the African refugees.

Video by

Tel Aviv, Israel protest demanding the expulsion of all non-Jewish African asylum-seekers.

Meet racism in Israel, October 28, 2012:

“But we are still stuck with 60 – 70,000 infiltrators here.”

“Of course ther is a natural rate of reproduction which can easily bring us to 100-200,000”

“Israel is conquered.. Look the whole bus!”

“It’s all black. Film that garbage”

An other appalling example of the deep rooted hatred and racism is reflected in this article in which a woman states:

“We need a tsunami on all of Gaza. Every pregnant Arab woman has a terrorist inside her,” said Linda.

If one does not understand this zionist disrespect for life, even when it is unborn, one should behold this gallery of images: 1 shot – 2 kills. No words nor explanation needed there.

About The Blue Pilgrimage

THE BLUE PILGRIMAGE explores the state of democracy in the State of Israel. It features footage from public demonstrations and interviews with popular figures and average Israelis.

An Intverview with an African refugee



Click to view the full story at Storify

Click to view the full story at Storify


  • After 3 months of relative quiet, Israelis return to the streets of TelAviv, demanding all African refugees be deported – Source
  • HRW: Israel shunned dozens of African asylum seekers since June and using violence too | Egypt Independent African asylum seeker explains in Hebrew how Jewish Israelis curse him, beat him & repeatedly smash up his store – Video
  • USA Jewish leaders do nothing as Israel rounds African refugees into concentration camp; more info – Source
  • Israeli wants to stop African births: “Why are they pregnant? If they were refugees, they wouldn’t be having children!” – Source
  • On the last day of the Knesset, Israel made time to advance bill stripping African refugees of their hard earned wages – Source
  • Rabbi of neighborhood where African kindergarten was firebombed wants refugee expulsion to prevent interracial families – Source
  • Furor over Israeli Facebook user who called African migrants `animals` in photo caption – Source
  • Lies Israeli government told to cover up its horrendous treatment of African asylum seekers needing refuge – Source
  • Israeli hospitals refusing to treat African patients – Source
  • Africans as “flood,” Palestinians as “demographic threat”: @RuthMarcus’ vulgar racism in Washington Post by Ali Abunimah


Photos of Asylum seekers and refugees by Activestills – Flickr

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