Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein on Wednesday instructed the parliament`s Director General Ronen Plot to remove an MDA blood donation stand from the premises after volunteers told MK Penina Tamanu-Shata, the legislature’s first female Ethiopian member, that her blood would not be used.
MDA`s policy is not to take blood from people who were born or have lived for more than a year since 1977 in a country where HIV is prevalent, such as in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.
”Today I received further proof that `equal rights` for Ethiopians in Israel is a nice slogan that doesn’t exist in reality,” Tamanu-Shata said. ”I contributed through my army service and as an MK, but apparently there is no equality when it comes to being a blood donor.”
”The time has come to put an end to this ugly phenomenon,” she said.
Edelstein spoke to Tamanu-Shata and expressed shock and displeasure at the incident. ”I thought this was behind us, but now it turns out I was wrong. This unacceptable phenomenon that has no place in the Knesset,” Edelstein said.
Tamanu-Shata was born in Ethiopia in 1981 and immigrated to Israel at age three.