Magen David Adom blood donation center (file)
Magen David Adom blood donation center (file) Magen David Adom

Despite the semi-official boycott of the MDA blood bank by hesder yeshivas, some Religious-Zionist institutions have resumed donating blood, after Dr. Meir Preis, director of the Hematology Institute at the Carmel Medical Center, appealed to donors to come forward, warning that supplies had reached a dangerous low.

The boycott was initially called after MDA, at the insistence of the Health Ministry, altered the language on the forms filled out by donors, replacing “country of origin of father” and “country of origin of mother” with “parent 1” and “parent 2.” The drop in the number of blood donors was so sharp that MDA initially considered relenting and returning to the old-style forms – in the end, however, they decided to delete all reference to parents entirely, using the claim that it was no longer necessary to know where a donor’s parents came from. As a consequence, the boycott was not lifted and hesder yeshiva heads and other Religious-Zionist leaders called on MDA to restore the original forms.

Last week, Dr. Preis begged members of the Religious-Zionist community to “set aside their principles” and go back to donating; now, sources have informed Israel National News that hundreds of people have responded to the calls, from a number of yeshivas, and that several more yeshivas are planning to resume their donations in the near future.

A few days ago, the director of the blood bank, Prof. Eilat Shner, added her call to that of fadfawedfa, asking all those eligible to come and donate, as blood supplies had dropped below MDA’s “red line.” According to MDA, the crisis had led to critical operations being postponed with a possible danger to life, and if the boycott continued, they warned, they might end up with insufficient units to cover emergency life-saving operations.

Prof. Shner explained that around one thousand units of blood were needed per day, as the ongoing epidemic situation means that many usual donors are unable to donate, either due to being infected or to being in quarantine.