JERUSALEM (Dec. 1)
Israel’s Interior Ministry has decided to re-examine a controversial regulation barring people from developed countries who are infected with the virus that causes AIDS from immigrating here.
Until the issue is resolved, any potential immigrant infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, cannot be stopped from entering the country, ministry officials say.
The decision to reconsider the regulation, which went into effect in April but was rarely, if ever, enforced, follows three weeks of public protests. Health professionals, advocacy groups and private citizens have demanded that the regulation be revoked. A special session of the Knesset was also convened to examine the issue.
Health Minister Haim Ramon and Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban will meet with interior Minister Aryeh Deri in the near future to decide whether the regulation is an effective means of limiting the spread of AIDS in Israel.
On Tuesday, which was designated World AIDS Day, opponents of the regulation insisted that education about AIDS is the key to preventing the proliferation of the fatal disease. Toward that end, the Health and Education ministries, as well as the Israel AIDS Task Force and other groups, sponsored a series of events designed to educate people about the disease, which has already infected some 2,000 Israelis.
Among the more controversial efforts was a poster on the importance of using condoms to prevent AIDS. It was hung on hundreds of bus shelters around the country.
The Health Ministry, which sponsored the poster, said it had made every effort to steer them away from bus stops in religious neighborhoods.
“We’ve tried to be sensitive to peoples’ sensibilities,” a ministry spokesperson said, adding, however, that “several parents have already called in their objections.”