The Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee approved on Wednesday an
exemption for US physicians who have passed American MD exams (USMLE) and who
want to settle and work in Israel.
The exemption from the local licensing
exam will be retroactive, granting a license to whoever has passed the USMLE in
the past decade.
This is the first time that Israeli health authorities
have accepted foreign test results for an MD license.
But someone who has
taken an Israeli licensing exam and failed may not ask to take the USMLE exam
and receive an exemption; he will be able, however, to resit the local exam
The new rules will go into effect when they are published in the
state gazette Reshumot within the next few weeks.
Dr. Amir Shannon, head
of the Health Ministry’s Medical Professions Licensing Department, said, “We are
trying to make it easier for Israeli graduates who completed their medical
studies in the US and also for new American immigrants. The easing of conditions
is apparently due to the growing shortage of doctors in Israel.”
Livni Party MK Rachel Adatto, a gynecologist, said she opposes giving
“discounts” to doctors to get a medical license. Whoever started Israeli medical
studies is entitled to undergo them again and again, and there is no reason for
him to take the USMLE, she said.
Hadash MK Dr. Afu Agbaria said medical
students should be allowed to take the licensing exam over and over like a
driver’s license test.
Committee chairman Haim Katz said that he will
“continue to act to relieve the lack of medical manpower and help doctors who do