Legislature suspends blood drive over discrimination charges

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament suspended its blood drive Monday after an Ethiopia-born legislator charged racial bias, saying he was the only lawmaker not asked to donate blood.
“This is serious discrimination,” said legislator Adisso Massala, who emigrated from Ethiopia in the 1980s. “It stems from the claim … that our blood is filthy and we could transmit certain diseases.”
In 1996, thousands of Ethiopian immigrants rioted over revelations that Israeli blood banks secretly discarded Ethiopian donations, fearing the blood might be tainted with AIDS.
The organizer of the blood drive, the Magen David Adom medical emergency service, dismissed Massala’s accusations. Spokesman Shuki Gutman said no personal invitations were sent out to the legislators.
Health Minister Yehoshua Matza insisted there was no longer discrimination against blood donors of Ethiopian origin.