Israel secretly injected Ethiopian Jews with drugs to control their population


After years of futile denials, the Israeli government has finally admitted what many already knew and others had long suspected: Israel injected Ethiopian Jews with a long-acting contraceptive in order to control their population growth.

Haaretz reports that Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu banned Israel’s health maintenance organizations from injecting Ethiopian women with the contraceptive Depo-Provera “if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

Reports of forced birth control shots have been around for years, but government officials had always denied the practice. A documentary that aired in December on Israel’s Educational Network also shed new light on the reports.

Haaretz wrote in December that 35 Ethiopian women who immigrated to Israel eight years ago claimed on the show “Vacuum” that, as they understood, they would not be allowed to move to Israel unless they agreed to the Depo-Provera shots.

“We said we won’t have the shot,” recounted one of the women, according to Haaretz. “They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel. And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint [American Joint Distribution Committee] office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid. … We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid, we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave.”

Some of the women didn’t know the shots contained contraceptives, the Times of Israel added, but instead thought they were vaccinations. Others said they kept receiving the shots once in Israel, even after reporting side effects such as headaches and abdominal pains.

Efrat Yardai explains in an op-ed for Haaretz that Depo-Provera is an extremely intrusive drug and is usually prescribed for “women who are institutionalized or developmentally disabled.”

“Depo-Provera has a shameful history,” he writes.

According to The Independent, nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel since the 1980s, when the first airlifts brought Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. Yet the group has been met with skepticism in Israel society, and is often discriminated against. Many Ethiopian Jews have spent time in transit camps or were forced to live in absorption centers in Israel to “adjust to society.” They face widespread discrimination in the job market and the educational system.

“This is about reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” Hevda Eyal, author of the report “By Women to Women,” told The National, referring to the birth control shots.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

What's new

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter

Get notified about new articles