Israel admits injecting Ethiopian Jews with contraceptives amid consent concerns


Israelis, mainly of Ethiopian origin, demonstrate against discrimination of Ethiopian immigrants in front of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on January 18, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. According to Ethiopian residents of the southern town of Kiryat Malachi, housing committees in the city have been refusing to sell them apartments.


Uriel Sinai

Israel on Sunday admitted to injecting Ethiopian Jewish women with birth control, often without their full understanding or consent, said Haaretz, in the first official confirmation of a December investigative report that sparked widespread uproar.

Over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel over the past several decades. However, the community's "Jewishness" has come under question in Israel, said The Independent, raising suspicions that the government has attempted to curb the growth of a community deemed undesirable by some.

The contraceptive reportedly being pushed was Depo-Provera, a long-acting form of birth control that The Los Angeles Times said "few healthy women in Israel choose" to use. 

Israel initially denied involvement in the affair, which first came to light in an Israeli media report on the minority's falling birth rates. The program found that Jewish Ethiopian women en route to Israel were often persuaded to take contraceptives but given little or no information about them, said the LA Times.

Human rights groups have since been pressing the government for further investigation. Israeli women's rights activist Hedva Eyal told the National the report revealed an "unspoken policy" that aimed to reduce "the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor." She said it confirmed the "deliberate targeting of these women" on the part of the Israeli government, reported The National

Sunday's statement from the Israeli Health Ministry instructed doctors not to renew prescriptions of the contraceptive in cases of questionable consent, according to the LA Times