Ethiopian Jews 370.
(photo credit: Moshe Shai)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira will investigate claims that Ethiopian women
were given birth control implants while waiting approval for aliya in their
native country, and continued to get the implant “against their will” once in
Israel “to reduce their birthrate,” he told MK Orly Levy-Abecassis on
In a public letter, Shapira said that “it appears that some of
the people did not remotely understand what was happening at the time” when they
were being given birth control.
Shapira also told Army Radio that, “the
issue is important to me, both in its substance and in light of the fact that we
are talking about the Ethiopian community.”
The Comptroller has been a
stalwart supporter of the Ethiopian community, both ensuring diversity in his
office and investing significant resources in his reports on issues impacting
Several ministries and the Jewish Agency have reportedly
denied knowledge of the issue.
The Yisrael Beytenu MK said that the
findings of a recent report by the Knesset research department that dealt with
the matter were “worrisome and shocking.” Their report maintained that the women
were told they needed the implant under the of the upper arm because it was a
The report did not explain why the state brought in tens
of thousands of immigrants to Israel when, at the same time, the authorities
allegedly gave them birth control implants so they would not get
The claims have been denied by Clalit Health Services, which
insures most immigrants from Ethiopia.
Experts said it is possible that
Ethiopian women were given implants to prevent conception, so as not to
complicate their immigration, as many had to wait years in transit camps until
the Falash Mura gradually received permission to leave for Israel.
said she wanted to know if there had been an “institutional decision” to prevent
Ethiopian women from getting pregnant after their aliya.
After the claims
became public, Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said he would
look into it, but no results have been announced.
Levy-Abecassis said she
congratulated the state comptroller for his decision and asked for “a serious
and in-depth investigation” by his office.