Last weekend, a report was released revealing that African immigrants to Israel have been subjected to forced sterilization (even if temporary). The controversial move has outraged many in Israel, and abroad, who learned that the government had implemented mandatory contraceptive injections, effectively amounting to forced sterilization. Still, this story has not caused much of the stir in American media where it has barely been mentioned.
Of those thought to have been subjected to the program, 130,000 Ethiopians, most of them Jewish, live in Israel, have seen a birth rate decline by at least 20 percent. Talk of such forced sterilization amongst Ethiopian Jews in Israel has been discussed for years now. But the new report corroborates what Ethiopian women in Israel had been saying all along.
The Israeli news source Haaretz claims that one Ethiopian immigrant recalled doctors injecting her with a birth control cocktail, who claimed that “people who frequently give birth suffer.”
For the State’s part, Israel has acknowledged the issue yet says it did nothing wrong. It has, however, said that it will explore institutional changes in healthcare for immigrants.
Israel’s health minister has since said that gynecologists have now been ordered “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”
That such practices would occur in Israel of all places is particularly shocking, considering the fact that this practice was widely used by the Nazis throughout the Holocaust.
(Article by M.B. David)