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Ramat Gans business district..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Some 230 Israeli academics return from abroad under new government program
By Lidar Gravé-Lazi
11/03/2014
The majority of the program participants have a background in engineering, exact sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, life sciences, and medicine, according to the ministry.
Some 230 academics who emigrated from Israel returned from abroad this past year, the Economy Ministry announced on Monday.

The academics relocated within the framework of a government program – Returning to Industry and Academia in Israel – launched jointly in 2013 by the Economy, Immigration and Absorption, and Finance ministries in collaboration with the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education.

“Many Israelis have broken through and integrated into the leading and most innovative institutions and companies in the world. However in the end Israel is home and we are pleased that the program has succeeded to attract these leading Israelis home,” said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

According to the chief scientist office at the Economy Ministry, some 4,000 academics living abroad joined the program since its inception last year and expressed an interest in returning to Israel. These academics account for roughly 50 percent of PhD and MD graduates and some 27% of all Israeli academics with undergraduate or masters degrees who finished their studies in Israel after 1985, and have lived abroad for a year or more.

The majority of the program participants have a background in engineering, exact sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, life sciences, and medicine, according to the ministry.

“In the global world moving abroad is an important step in developing a career and specializing in scientific and technological fields. Together with this, we aim to bring back these Israeli minds and by doing so enjoy the knowledge and experience gained abroad,” said Avi Hasson, chief scientist of the Economy Ministry.

As of September, 233 academics returned to Israel as part of the program and were integrated into universities, academic colleges and industry throughout the country.

Of those returning 69 are PhD graduates or medical doctors, and of these 46 were accepted to positions in Israeli academia.

Furthermore, 54 of the academics have been integrated into industry, biotech and hi-tech positions.

“The program provides personal attention to each individual academic who has expressed a desire to return to Israel in the near future,” said Dr. Nurit Eyal, director of the program. “Everyone came together to respond directly and reduce the friction with the bureaucratic system in order to facilitate the absorption of the Israeli academic population,” she said.

In addition to the governmental organizations, the program has partnered with some 140 businesses and organizations in Israel, mainly in industry, assisting in placing the returning academics in suitable positions.

However, 34 of the returning program participants have yet to find suitable employment in Israel.

“Unfortunately, there are some [academics] who returned to Israel and have yet to integrate into the workforce, but we are in contact with them, as well as with academics who want to return but who continue to live abroad and we are working to locate the most suitable job for each and every one of them,” Eyal said.
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