Ethiopian Blood Dumping

Ethiopian Blood
A firestorm of protests and anger fuled by the knowledge that the Israeli Ministry of Health, discarded (dumped) blood donated by Ethiopian Israelis, Israeli citizens with Ethiopian background are not allowed to donate blood. The Magen David Adom blood bank claims “medical reasons”, but Lemallah believes this policy only strengthens the feeling of alienation among Ethiopian immigrants.

“For Medical Reasons”
All of the decisions not to use blood donated by Ethiopians were made for purely medical reasons”, Dr Eilat Shinar at the Magen David Adom blood bank
claims, stating general statistical conclusions. But Edward H.Kaplan at Yale School of Management estimates that by excluding Ethiopian donors, one infectious donation every 10 years is prevented. He concludes that this cannot be seen as a major public health achievement.

Not the First Time
In 1996, a similar policy of discarding blood from Ethiopian donors led to violent protests. In November 2006, new demonstrations were held following media
reports that the Health Ministry had resumed its policy. Ethiopians are also the only group of olim who had to be tested for HIV upon entering the country for the first time.

Stop Discrimination
“We are healthy people, like everyone else”, Haaretz reports one of the demonstrators saying, “It’s unjust, a terrible insult”. The systematic exclusion of donations from an entire community goes beyond the question of AIDS. Not only does the blood bank’s policy lack medical backing; it also strengthens the already existing feeling among Ethiopian olim of not being fully accepted into the Israeli society.

The Lemallah movement supports the reversal of the discriminatory policy of the Magen David Adom blood bank and, in addition, calls upon the government to fully accept the aliya of the Falashmura Jewish community. The contribution of the Ethiopian Jews to the Israeli society should be honored just as much as they
honor the country.