Shocking Decline in Ethiopian Israeli Birthrate


by Renee Ghert-Zand

Jewish Ethiopian women were given contraceptive injections before immigrating to Israel and after arrival. The result: a 50 percent decline in birthrate, and a ‘missing generation’ of Ethiopian children.”


Shocking Decline in Ethiopian Israeli Birthrate

by Renee Ghert-Zand

This article previously appeared in the Jewish Daily Forward.

This story reeks of racism, paternalism and arrogance.”

The birthrate among Ethiopians in Israel decreased by a dramatic 50% in the last decade, and Israeli journalist Gal Gabai wanted to know why. She investigated the issue for “Vacuum,” her documentary series on Israeli Educational Television, and she discovered some things that left her very uncomfortable — and will surely leave others equally so.

Educational Television posted Gabai’s 25-minute report, titled “Where did the children disappear to?” on YouTube on December 6, two days before it was scheduled to air on channel 23.

In her attempt to find out what the story was behind the shocking statistic, Gabai interviewed Ethiopian women immigrants and learned from them that they were given Depo-Provera (a contraceptive injection containing the hormone progestin administered once every three months) against their will. While some did not understand what the shots were for, others felt pressured into taking them in response to alleged threats that they would otherwise not be allowed to immigrate to Israel. The shots began in the refugee camps in Gondar, continued in the transition camps in Addis Ababa, and continued on after their arrivals in Israel. According to the women’s testimony, this continuity appears to have been a coordinated effort between the medical staff at the clinics in Ethiopia run by the JDC and doctors in Israeli hospitals and clinics.

The women, it seems, were never given proper family planning counseling outlining the various birth control methods, nor were they given the chance to choose the one with which they felt most comfortable. What were they given? The clear message that life would be very hard for them if they were to have large families in Israel.

The shots began in the refugee camps in Gondar, continued in the transition camps in Addis Ababa, and continued on after their arrivals in Israel.”

Some of the women interviewed said they were told that birth control pills were not suitable for them because they were not capable of remembering to take them daily. Video shot with a hidden camera during an Israeli health clinic visit by an Ethiopian immigrant, during which she gets a Depo-Provera shot, indeed documents healthcare providers expressing this exact opinion of Ethiopian women.

Gabai interviewed a female gynecologist who expressed shock at hearing that just about all Ethiopian women are given Depo-Provera shots, saying that it is rarely prescribed and usually recommended only for women who are institutionalized or developmentally disabled (in other words, women who cannot be relied upon to practice other methods responsibly). A male medical expert, however, said Depo-Provera is no big deal and that he had heard that it was the primary means of birth control in Ethiopia in general.

An Ethiopian man who works for the Absorption Ministry denied knowledge of any program to suppress the Ethiopian birthrate, and three kessim, or Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders, emphasizing that all is God’s will, also claimed to know nothing about the alleged forced family planning practices.

A women who works to absorb Ethiopian children and families into Israeli society expressed her astonishment at perceiving a “missing generation” of Ethiopian children and asked why this particular group has been targeted in this way. “We have other disadvantaged populations in Israeli society, like the Haredim and Arabs, and no one ever thought to impose a birthrate suppression plan on them,” she said.

A female gynecologist who expressed shock at hearing that just about all Ethiopian women are given Depo-Provera shots.”

As would be expected, the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry the Jewish Agency, and the JDC all responded to Gabai’s findings with letters denying any intervention in family planning issues among the Ethiopian immigrants.

Gabai proposed a number of motives that could be behind what she uncovered. It could have been “an intention to do good, to prevent poverty, and to help with the adjustment to Western urbanized living.” Or, it could have involved “economic calculations to reduce immigration and absorption costs… or in the worst case, an attitude that looks at Ethiopian children as unworthy.”

This story reeks of racism, paternalism and arrogance. It’s a story to be ashamed of,” Gabai concluded.

Clearly, more digging needs to be done to get to the bottom of this story. What remains to be seen is whether or not Gabai has actually blown the lid off it. Gabai and her bosses obviously care about the issue — but will enough other Israelis and Jews?

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz), for one, does care. Following the airing of Gabai’s report, he submitted an official request to Israel’s attorney general Yehuda Weinstein for the launching of a criminal investigation. Gilon emphasized that the women were exposed to drug and hormone related side effects, of which they were not made aware. “It cannot be that the serious news of this invasive interference with the rights of Ethiopian immigrant women’s control over their own bodies will go without redress,” he wrote.

1 Comment

Ethiopian Israelis Plight_Cautionary Tale of 'Trojan Horse' Ploy

The Israeli Gov't started bringing Ethiopian House of Beta Jews in Mass in the mid / latter 1980s, after catching some negative flack about the mistreatment of the Black Hebrews in Israel. Ethiopia was in a serious drought at that time [Remember Michael Jackson's, Lionel Richie's, & Quincy Jones famous Ethiopian Aid 'We Are The World' Concert featuring many top Black singers of the time] as well as political upheaval. The Israeli Gov't deflected its bad press viv-a-vis the Black Hebrews by its well publicized so-called  'Humanitarian' [= PR] Gesture called 'Operations Moses, Solomon & Sheba' - where they brought 10,000s of Ehtiopian Jews to Israel [Know for sureity that it's NO Mistake that they picked these particular Biblical names viv-a-vis Ethiopia's Beta Jews]. 

But this article shows that even when trying to look so-called 'Humanitarian' there's still the under-current of white-supremacy & racism [Earlier this yr the Lukudnik Minister of Interior declared 'Israel is for the white-man...'  Ironically this guy's parents came from Tunisia. Look at the map Dude- Israel does NOT have any European borders but Israel's southern border does lie w Egypt = AFRICA- DUHH!!! The Biblical Queen of Sheba came from Ethiopia, NOT Russia & Poland- DUHH!!! The Golan Hts, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River & Salt Sea Valley are all part of AFRICA's Great Rift Valley System {where man originated from}- DUHH!!!]. One of the main-reasons that most Israelis even the more so-called 'liberal' ones don't even give lip-service to a One-state Solution, is because of demographics, the fear is that the Palestinans would eventually out-baby / out-number 'Jewish' [= white] Israelis in a One-State scenario [meaning theoretically in a One State scenario Israel could end up w a Muslim head of state]. So when the Israeli Gov't so-called 'humanitianly rescued' the Ethiopian Jews they forced the women on quasi-sterilization progs via long lasting Depo-Provera shots [& God knows what else], which is completely beyond the control of these sisters. But now Israel's immigration policy RE Ethiopian Jews is to cut it down to a trickle. And that Likudnik Minister made that white-supremacist declaration RE 50,000 Africans immigrating to Israel over the past decade, yet Israel's Gov't has brought in 1.5 - 2 MILLION Russians in the past 15 - 20 yrs- half of whom don't even pretend to be Jewish [its all about {white}demographics].


IMO This article is a cautionary tale for Black & Brown people every-where in the face of white-supremacy. Even when certain 'Main-stream' organizations claim to have so-called 'Good Intentions' ['The Road to HELL is Paved by Those Claiming that They Had "Good" Intentions'] 'Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts' ala the 'Ole Trojan Horse' Ploy. For instance the JDC [@ ] that this article implicates is- From their web-site: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)- The world’s leading Jewish 'humanitarian' assistance organization...  

So Black & Brown sisters in the US  need to understand that there's also a similar demographics 'issue' here. Earlier this yr they 'officially' stated that white US births are in the minority vis-a-vis non-white births as of 2012. And by 2040, if current demographic trends continue, whites will 'offically' be the US' minority population. The {white}Power Elites will not stand idly by and just let that happen if they can help it. So earlier this yr they reported on [hyped] a 'study' in the St Loius area targeting 'poor[= Black] teenage girls & women, w quasi-permanent sterilization birth-control measures IE: the notoriously troublesome IUDs & Norplants- which once implanted- girls & women would have little control over should they have a bad side-effect. And they want to be 'OH So Helpful' to 'poor' [= Black] sisters in order to allegedly lower abortion rates, that they want to make these 'birth-control' [= quasi-sterilization] measures FREE of Charge [IE: get so-called Obama{RMoney}Care to pay for it]- while 'persuading' these Black teen-age girls that IUDs & Norplants are the 'best' choice [best for whom]. Of-course this study was really hyped up by the 'Usual Suspects' at PPFA & the Guttmacher Institute [see the article @ ].

So I'll say again- 'Beware of Greeks Bearing Ole Trojan Horse Ploy type Gifts'!