The speaker of Israel’s parliament ordered a blood-collection crew to leave the legislature’s premises on Wednesday after it turned down an offer of a blood donation from an Ethiopian-born lawmaker.
Knesset member Pnina Tamano-Shata, 32, wanted to donate blood to a routine visit by an ambulance service but was told by a member of the crew that set criteria disqualified her because she emigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at age 3.
"Under health ministry directives, we are unable to accept blood from donors of Ethiopian Jewish origin," the health official was reported to have said as he spurned the donation.
Israeli Health Ministry criteria bar people born in most African countries since 1977 from donating blood due to a fear that there is an increased risk they may carry the HIV virus.
Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images