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Ethiopian-Israeli lawmaker rejected at blood drive

December 11, 2013

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Ethiopian-born Israeli lawmaker says medics rejected her from donating blood at a parliament blood drive, drawing rebuke from Israeli officials.

Lawmaker Pnina Tamano-Shata said in a statement that the donation restrictions are discriminatory. Israel currently rejects blood from donors who were born or spent more than a year in Ethiopia after 1977, due to AIDS fears.

Eran Sidis, an aide to parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein, said the speaker closed Wednesday’s blood drive in protest.

Israeli health minister Yael German said in a statement she is pushing for new guidelines that will allow Ethiopian Jews to donate blood.

Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel protested in the mid-1990s when authorities admitted they’d been dumping Ethiopian-Israelis’ blood donations.

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