The Start-Up Nation is suffering from a brain drain that threatens its growth.For every Israeli citizen with a university degree who returned from abroad in 2017, a corresponding 4.5 Israelis with degrees left the country that same year, a newly released report by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research found. The trend has been under way for years and shows no signs of slowing down.As a result, Israel relies on an “exceptionally small” number of professionals – fewer than 130,000 – to drive its hi-tech economy and healthcare system, the report found.Mass emigration of Israel’s most tech-savvy individuals starves start-ups of talented hires and puts a ceiling on their growth. To make matters worse, many departing Israelis are English-speakers, denying Israeli firms of the language skills needed to talk to global customers. Thus, even as Israeli start-ups like Waze and Mobileye score multibillion-dollar exits through the likes of Google and Intel in the global market, the domestic outlook for start-ups is increasingly clouded.Education and immigration have not made up for the brain drain. Israeli start-ups supported by OurCrowd’s crowd-funding platform need the assistance of “10,000 more computer science majors,” said Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s founder and one of Israel’s legendary entrepreneurs. Hebrew University graduates fewer than 1,000 per year, he adds.Nor have immigrants made up for the computer-skills gap, as they have in the US.“We have huge problems bringing in non-Jews, especially from India,” Medved told participants of a recent mission to Israel organized by the Masa Innovation Fund, a new entity which provides personnel and venture capital for Israeli start-ups.Other Israeli CEOs are singing the same sad song. MAX Security, a Tel Aviv-based firm that designs cybersecurity solutions, had to open an office in India to help deal with the twin problems of Israel’s brain drain and immigration controls, its chief executive told me.To be sure, the overall strength of Israel’s economy is still something of a modern-day miracle, considering that the country is roughly the size of New Jersey and one of the world’s 25 richest nations. It boasts more tech start-ups, on a per capita basis, than any other nation on earth.Now, amid the talent shortage facing Israeli start-ups, Masa Israel Journey sees a unique opportunity. Masa – the organization that has brought over 130,000 young adults ages 18-30 from more than 60 countries to Israel for long-term study, internships and Jewish studies programs – is plugging the brain drain by matching educated North Americans with jobs at Israeli start-ups.Masa is leveraging North American Jews – the world’s largest Jewish population – to combat Israel’s brain drain. The young adults gain access to the kinds of high-level opportunities at prestigious start-ups that would have likely eluded them at home, due to fierce competition. Meanwhile, Israeli firms receive a much-needed infusion of English-speaking talent in coding and other key technical skills. Masa FastTrack Pro serves as a pipeline for elite young professionals to be placed in top Israeli companies like Check Point, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Playbuzz.Teaching English is the first step in fighting the brain drain. The Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program arranges for North Americans and Britons to teach English in Israeli schools. Both sides benefit. Israelis learn English and thereby gain access to the global market. And the Masa fellows improve their résumés through real-world experience. As a bonus, many find that immersing themselves in Israeli culture and life has strengthened their Jewish identities.Masa has come up with a blueprint that works. By bringing more talented North Americans to Israel, the Start-Up Nation could reverse the brain drain that threatens its future growth.The writer is a best-selling author.