Ethiopian Jews were forcibly sterilised in Israel

Ethiopian Jews were forcibly sterilised in Israel

Israel has acknowledged that Ethiopian jews were forced to take birth control pills, it has been revealed.

The women were pressured or in many cases, forced to undergo injections of the contraceptive Depo-Provera in exchange for citizenship and healthcare.

It has since emerged that many of the women who were given these injections in both Israel and in transit camps within Ethiopia, were not aware of the side-effects of the drug.

Depo-Provera has been used in an attempt to lower birth rates among African immigrants, and activists in the country claim that since the widespread use of the drug, the birth rate among African women has halved by 50 per cent.

Women’s rights activists have demanded that health authorities in the country should stop administering the injections.

The Association of Civil Rights, a group that represents women and immigrants in Israel has drafted a letter to the Israeli government demanding an end to the practice.

The Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu, has since issued a formal directive to health authorities in the country to stop administering the injections.

The Israeli ministry and other state agencies have refuted allegations that the government-funded health facilities were targeting African jews for selective use of the contraceptive.

According to activists within the country, the injections were part of a nationwide eugenics campaign specifically aimed at reducing the population of African women in Israel.

An educational television journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants.

The program revealed that the women were often bullied and threatened into taking the drug. One of the women interviewed said: “They told us they are inoculations. They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”

Hedva Eyal, the author of the report by Woman to Woman, carried out a 2009 study into allegations of racism in Israel.

Her study found that 57 percent of Depo-Provera users in Israel were Ethiopian, although their community made up less than 2 per cent of the population.

The research also described the drug use as part of an “unspoken [official] policy” aimed to “reduce the births in a community that is mostly black and poor.”

There are a number of moderate to severe side effects associated with the use of Depo-Provera and these include ovarian cysts, fatigue, weight gain, depression, sleep difficulties and alopecia.

The National has also reported that allegations of racism against black minorities have been an issue among African migrants and asylum seekers in the country.

In fact, many asylum seekers in Tel Aviv were severely injured in May last year after politicians incited racial hatred with speeches against illegal Sudanese and Eritreans.

Miri Negev, a politician of the ruling Likud party, reportedly told supporters that asylum seekers were a “cancer in our body.”

Ethiopians are also reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education and it recently emerged that their blood donations were routinely discarded.

Although immigration is a contentious issue in the country, many of the African migrants in Israel were actively encouraged and sought out by the Israeli government during the 1980s under a series of government and CIA backed operations.

Operation Moses helped to transport thousands of women from the Sudan after a famine in 1984, which was followed up by the CIA-backed Operation Joshua which transported hundreds of Ethiopian Jews from the Sudan into israel.

Half a decade later Operation Solomon helped to bring a further 15,000 African Jews into the country.

However after arriving in the country, many African migrants faced discrimination and extreme poverty.

But when it comes to what has been described as ‘ethnic cleansing’, Israel is not the only country that has come under the spotlight for forced contraception and sterilisation.

In the 1960s, thousands of African-American women were sterilised as part of a eugenics programme, often without their knowledge when they were in hospital for other reasons. Others were told that they would no longer be eligible for welfare payments if they did not agree to the injections. The mentally ill and disabled were also targeted; while many mixed race citizens were sterilised in Hitler’s Germany as part of a similar initiative.

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