The following is an excerpt from The National
NAZARETH, Israel // Health officials in Israel are subjecting many female Ethiopian immigrants to a controversial long-term birth control drug in what Israeli women’s groups allege is a racist policy to reduce the number of black babies.
The contraceptive, known as Depo Provera, which is given by injection every three months, is considered by many doctors as a birth control method of last resort because of problems treating its side effects.
However, according to a report published last week, use of the contraceptive by Israeli doctors has risen threefold over the past few years. Figures show that 57 per cent of Depo Provera users in Israel are Ethiopian, even though the community accounts for less than two per cent of the total population.
About 90,000 Ethiopians have been brought to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has subsequently been questioned by some rabbis and is doubted by many ordinary Israelis.
Ethiopians are reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education and it recently emerged that their blood donations were routinely discarded.
“This is about reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” said Hedva Eyal, the author of the report by Woman to Woman, a feminist organisation based in Haifa, in northern Israel. “The unspoken policy is that only children who are white and Ashkenazi are wanted in Israel,” she said, referring to the term for European Jews who founded Israel and continue to dominate its institutions.
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