False claim: Israel forcibly sterilised Ethiopian Jews

In 1977, under Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s leadership, Israel initiated bold Mossad operations to rescue Ethiopian Jews from the oppressive Marxist-Leninist regime led by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. These Jews were facing religious persecution, famine, and civil wars, prompting Israel to act decisively. As a result, approximately 30,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to safety. Following Mengistu’s overthrow, immigration procedures were streamlined, facilitating the relocation of around 90,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel by the late 1990s.

However, in the mid-2000s, allegations surfaced from anti-Israel factions claiming that Israel had sterilized hundreds of black Ethiopian Jewish women, aiming to cast Israel as a ‘racist’ state. These accusations led to a thorough investigation. The investigation revealed that instead of sterilization, some Ethiopian Jewish women had received Depo-Provera injections. No evidence of forcing Ethiopian women to take Depo-Provera before coming to Israel was found. Depo-Provera is a contraceptive shot that prevents pregnancy for three months, widely used and recognized for its efficacy.

The administration of Depo-Provera occurred in crowded transit camps and upon the women’s arrival in Israel. A small number reported, possibly due to miscommunication, that they were unaware of the nature of the injections they received. Nonetheless, subsequent interviews with these women showed that they had later conceived children, debunking the claim of sterilization.

Scrutinizing the logic behind the sterilization allegations reveals no credible reason why Israel would engage in such actions, especially considering the significant resources and effort Israel has expended to assist Ethiopian Jews. Israel’s commitment to aiding those in need, particularly Ethiopian Jews seeking to escape conflict zones, remains steadfast and continues to this day, further challenging the validity of the accusations.


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