Noam Party leader MK Avi Maoz called on Israel’s Health Ministry to end the severe blood donation shortage by listing the words “mother” and “father” on the donation forms, rather than “parent.”
In a letter sent to Health Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur on Tuesday morning, the far-right MK alleged that the update made to Magen David Adom blood donation forms last year to allow a donor to input details for “parent one and parent two” rather than “mother and father” was the reason for the severe shortage of blood donations in Israel in recent months.
“More than a year ago, the MDA blood bank decided to change the lines ‘father’s country of origin’ and ‘mother’s country of origin’ to ‘parent’s country of origin 1’ and ‘parent’s country of origin 2’ in the blood donation forms,” he wrote in the letter to Health Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur.
“As you know, there is a serious crisis in the MDA blood bank, and they are contacting potential donors every day in order to convince them to come and donate blood,” Maoz continued. “There are thousands of donors who wish to donate blood but ask to be allowed to do so with the original forms in which the names ‘mother and father’ appear.
“Apparently, following a public protest, the blood bank decided to completely omit the question about the parent’s country of origin, although the vice president of blood services admitted in a conversation presented to me by the Knesset Health Committee, that this data is still needed from a health point of view.”
In response to Maoz’s comments, MDA told The Jerusalem Post that blood donation forms do not require the donor to disclose any information about their parents’ background and that the forms no longer feature the words mother, father, or even parent, as the advanced technology no longer requires it.
“Historically, it was very important for Magen David Adom to know the ethnic backgrounds of parents for blood screening,” an MDA spokesperson said. “With modern technology available to type blood, this is no longer necessary. There is no longer any reference to parents on our medical questionnaire and there has not been for some time. Our only agenda is saving lives in Israel.”
Religious-Zionist ban on blood donation
Following the updates made to the blood donation form in October 2021, a number of religious-Zionist institutions banned students from donating blood, saying that the change in the form was an “intentional blurring of the true and healthy idea of family.”
Blood donation shortages aren’t a new thing, and MDA has experienced periods of severe blood shortages before, although the situation was exacerbated by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
"With modern technology available to type blood, this is no longer necessary. There is no longer any reference to parents on our medical questionnaire and there has not been for some time. Our only agenda is saving lives in Israel.”Magen David Adom
Prior to the introduction of the updated MDA forms in October 2021, Israel was experiencing frequent shortages as well, with calls having been issued for people with Rh-negative, O-negative, A-positive and B-negative blood to donate the previous August.
In recent years, blood donation has been opened up to a wider spectrum of people in Israel after restrictions were lifted on gay men donating blood by former health minister Nitzan Horowitz.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.