JERUSALEM — Israel’s health minister said Thursday that the country’s long-standing ban on homosexual men donating blood has been removed, claiming that the restriction was discriminatory and demeaning.
Following a similar move by the United States last year due to a decline in the nation’s blood supply, the United Kingdom relaxed limits on blood donations from homosexual and bisexual males earlier this year.
Until Thursday, males seeking blood in Israel were asked if they had had same-sex relationships in the previous 12 months, a category that disqualified them from donating. In the new form, a potential donor is asked if they have had “high-risk sexual interactions with a new partner or partners” in the last three months, using gender-neutral language.
In a Facebook post, Israel’s health minister, Nitzan Horowitz, who is openly gay, stated that the Health Ministry had “removed the degrading and unnecessary questions” from blood donor forms and that everyone will be treated equally regardless of sexual orientation.
He stated, “There is no difference between one blood and the other.” “Discrimination against homosexual people donating blood is no longer an issue.”
The ruling was praised by Israeli LGBTQ rights organizations as a significant step toward equality in Israel. The chairman of the Israeli LGBT Medical Associations, Gal Wagner Kolasko, thanked Horowitz for the “historical correction” on Twitter.
“Safe blood dosages are now available to everybody without prejudice or damage to human rights. Because prejudice has a negative impact on one’s health,” he added.