But as a pediatrician with a background in medical education, Professor Margalit only saw possibilities in the South.

“For me, the opportunity to develop something new was very important,” said Professor Margalit.
 
While living in Be’er Sheva, Professor Margalit (known as Prof. Carmi to his students) helped found both of Ben Gurion University’s Medical Schools, the Goldman Medical School for Israelis and the Medical School for International Health for students from outside of Israel. He also helped turn Soroka Medical Center into one of Israel’s leading hospitals.
 
Four decades later, Israel’s South is now an attractive place for Olim doctors to go. Accounting for more than half of Israel’s land, the South offers doctors ample job opportunity at local clinics and hospitals. With the launch of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s new initiative to bring doctors to Israel’s South, NBN is now offering pilot trips, mentors, resources and assistance in setting up job interviews. In 2015, NBN hopes to attract 3 to 5 more doctors to Israel’s South.
 
“Not only does the Negev require the same high level of care that Israel’s center does,” said Emily Shapiro, who oversees NBN’s doctors’ initiative. “But because the need for doctors is greater in the South, the doctors’ contributions will be felt even more strongly.”
 
Dr. Vika Ioffe, a pediatrician who made Aliyah in 2014 from Michigan and is now a pediatric cardiology fellow at Soroka, says that if anyone misses a day of work in Israel, everyone asks for her. “In the South, you really feel like you’re helping people because you’re truly filling a need,” said Dr. Ioffe.
 
Dr. Ioffe has also been amazed by how much she has learned in only a year. Because Soroka is the only full service hospital in the South, almost all of Southern Israel’s complicated referrals are seen there. “At any other hospital, it would take many more years for me to see so many diverse cases,” said Dr. Ioffe. “I’m constantly learning new things here.”
 
Dr. Dan Sapir, who specializes in pain management and anesthesiology, moved to Yerucham from Indiana just this year because he was drawn to the community’s warmth. He also wanted to be part of Israel’s development.
 
“The South is opening up and progressing much faster than it might have in the past,” said Dr. Sapir. “And there is a population here that needs real help.”
 
Aside from feeling like she is filling an important need in the south, Dr. Ioffe loves that the hospital staff has become like family. “The people are warm and open and really show that they care about you,” said Dr. Ioffe. “I have no family in Israel aside from my children, and the staff has truly been there for me.”
 
For many new Olim, the South offers exactly what they are looking for–good quality of life and job security.
 
“The South is where you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference and be part of a growing community,” said Dr. Sapir, “And it isn’t at all tied to the traffic of Tel Aviv.”
 
To learn more about the Go South Doctors Fellowship, contact gosouth@nbn.org.il

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To learn more about the Aliyah process or to start your application, contact 1-866-4-ALIYAH, email info@nbn.org.il or visit our website www.nbn.org.il.

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