In the 1990s, thousands of Jewish physicians made aliya from the former Soviet Union; today, many of them have reached or are about to reach retirement age – a major reason for the current severe shortage of Israeli doctors.

Now, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry has prepared 22 physicians from the FSU to work in the Israeli health system – far from enough but a step in the right direction.

A ministry ceremony will be held on Monday at Beit Canada in Ashdod to welcome the newcomers. It will be attended by Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky.

The newcomers have received assistance from the ministry in preparing for the licensing exams, and they will soon take up posts in hospitals and community clinics. The Health Ministry was not involved in the project.

The immigrant doctors learned Hebrew, not only the basic language but also sophisticated medical terminology for their work.

The course gives the immigrants 10 “bonus points” for three licensing exams over two years after the course is completed, while the Absorption Ministry also finances their first salaries and the costs of internship and residency in hospitals.

Six out of 10 of the physicians passed the course preparing them for licensing on their first attempt, with 80 percent overall passing the licensing exam.

The Absorption Ministry continues to assist the doctors during the beginning of their integration in medical institutions. In April 2013, the ministry intends to bring a fourth group to train at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center to get their licenses to practice in October.

Claudia Katz, head of the employment branch of the ministry, said that both new immigrant and returning Israeli physicians are helped by her office. In the past, her office held a job fair for physicians in Moscow who are interested in living and working in Israel.

Informed that the Obamacare program in the US has alarmed many US physicians who fear that their salaries will decline and their work load will increase due to increased bureaucracy, Katz agreed that it could be the right time to organize a doctors job fair there, as some Jewish physicians may be interested in aliya.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger