Israeli Ethiopian leaders seek program to educate about AIDS

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (JTA) — Israeli Ethiopian leaders have asked the government to implement an AIDS awareness campaign in their community. The community has a relatively high incidence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to Israeli officials. Funding for the program — about $6 million is needed — has not been secured. One year ago in Jerusalem, a violent protest of Ethiopian Jews erupted after the discovery that Israeli health officials were disposing of their blood donations for fear of HIV contamination. A commission of inquiry was subsequently established to examine the matter. Consensus was that health officials had bungled badly. But there was also recognition that the Ethiopians were expressing pain and outrage over the broader insult of not yet being accepted or absorbed by mainstream Israeli society.

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