The government approved a plan on Sunday to increase the number of medical specialists and hospital residents learning a specialty who are living abroad and eligible to settle in Israel under the Law of Return. The government’s decision is expected to bring another 270 doctors to Israel.
The program will have a budget of NIS 2.7 million from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Health Ministry and the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee Ministry. The law is intended to help the medical specialists make aliyah in order to strengthen the medical system in hospitals desperate for more physicians.
“As part of the vision to turn the periphery, the Negev and Galilee into stronger centers in themselves, strengthening the hospitals in the periphery is a critical move to boost these areas,” said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Oded Forer. “The possibility of accomplishing the task of absorbing immigrants along with upgrading the health system is an opportunity that must be realized.”
“As part of the vision to turn the periphery, the Negev and the Galilee into stronger centers in themselves, strengthening the hospitals in the periphery is a critical move to boost these areas. The possibility of accomplishing the task of absorbing immigrants along with upgrading the health system is an opportunity that must be realized.”Oded Forer
His office invests heavily in the health sector, Forer said, based on the perception that good medicine will lead to positive immigration and a better lifestyle for the residents of the region.
“Advanced medical services in the Negev, Galilee and the periphery are not a luxury,” he said. “The residents of the North and South are also entitled to advanced medicine, shorter queues for appointments, and excellent doctors just like in the center of the country.”
Many of the doctors who will come to Israel have a lot of experience, so the amount of training they need in the Israeli medical system is relatively small, thus giving them a high potential to integrate in the Israeli health system. The program will last eight months and will include theoretical studies and practical training.
Solving the doctor shortage in Israel
The government’s decision, said the initiators, will address the existing shortage in Israel of doctors and medical teams, especially in the periphery; the impact of the corona crisis; the demand for workers in medical professions; encourage immigration; and removing barriers to the employment of immigrants in medical professions.
“The manpower crisis in health care has been neglected for so many years, to the point of a real danger to the stability of the system,” said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. “In the past year, we finally began to address this critical issue, with both immediate and long-term solutions, while emphasizing the promotion of the outlying areas.”
The move, said Horowitz, “will offer a direct reinforcement of the medical system in general and the periphery in particular. At the same time, we are now adding hundreds of places for medical students in Israel in various programs and thousands of places for nursing students. These programs and more will provide a horizon of medical personnel for years to come. This will provide the oxygen that was so necessary for the public system so that it can continue to function and help every Israeli who needs medical care.”
Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said that “a solution to the severe shortage of medical staff in Israel is from potential new immigrants. The government decision that we passed today is a direct continuation of two previous government decisions that I led, where we promoted moves to encourage the immigration of those involved in the medical professions and remove barriers and challenges they face in Israel, with the aim of optimally integrating them into the health system.”
Aliyah, said Tamano-Shata, is a “national asset and an engine of growth for the Israeli economy and for Israeli society as a whole. We must encourage and assist those immigrants in integrating and being absorbed quickly.”
The number of participants in the Masa Doctors Program, which is run by the Jewish Agency, will also be increased.
Masa Israel provides long-term Israel experiences and sponsors studies for Diaspora Jews age 18 to 30 that range from two to 12 months of service and career development.