Photo Credit: The Jewish Agency
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog with olim doctors.

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors will convene this week to adopt new guidelines that introduce a comprehensive aliyah program for physicians and medical professionals from around the world who will join the Israeli health care system.

As the world marks one year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Jewish Agency’s new guidelines will focus on the priorities of continued Aliyah as well as the rehabilitation of pandemic-stricken communities in Israel and around the world. The virtual international conference, overseen by the Jewish Agency’s Chairman of the Board Michael Siegel, and Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog, will include hundreds of leaders of Jewish communities.

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In 2020, about 950 medical and paramedical professionals immigrated to Israel from around the world, including more than 300 physicians who made Aliyah with the assistance of The Jewish Agency. Accordingly, The Jewish Agency decided to develop a unique program for immigrant doctors to ease their rapid integration into hospitals and clinics throughout the country. The program will enable medical professionals to start studying Hebrew abroad. Upon arrival in Israel, they will be integrated into joint programs with the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and Ministry of Health, as well as into Masa Israel Journey, a joint program of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency which is the global leader in connecting Jewish young adults with immersive and long-term experiences in Israel.

Among other benefits, the medical professionals will receive housing in absorption centers and kibbutzim, afterschool programs for children, assistance in preparation for licensing tests, and internship placements. During the Board of Governors’ convening, global Jewish community representatives will meet with doctors who have already immigrated to Israel to hear about their experiences making Aliyah at the height of the pandemic.

“This is the time to strengthen Israeli society, including through the arrival of hundreds of new olim doctors who will join medical teams working day and night on the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Chairman Herzog. “In addition to benefiting the health care industry, Aliyah also holds huge potential to boost the Israeli economy as the country continues to navigate a challenging economic period.”

The new guidelines formulated by the Jewish Agency also take into consideration the continued increase in Aliyah, including the 41% surge in the opening of immigration cases among people ages 18 to 35 from Western countries. The Jewish Agency will continue the work of its Aliyah Global Call Center as well as aid and rescue operations of immigrants from around the world. The organization will develop immigration programs for young professionals, in cooperation with government ministries and employers.

The Board of Governors will also discuss Operation Zur Israel, the Aliyah operation bringing 2,000 Ethiopians following the Government of Israel’s decision. Zur Israel will soon be completed, reuniting many families in Israel after years spent apart. The operation began in early December and was conducted with great sensitivity due to the Corona. It was led by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency, with the support of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod, and other donors in Israel and worldwide.

Alongside Aliyah, The Jewish Agency will continue working to strengthen the resilience of Israeli society by assisting vulnerable populations, including thousands of senior citizens and Holocaust survivors, as well as thousands of at-risk families and children. The organization will also continue to operate leadership programs for young people in the geographical and social periphery through their integration into service-year programs in Israel and overseas, and in pre-army leadership programs. 

The Jewish Agency will also grow its support to non-profit organizations and small businesses affected by the pandemic as part of initiatives it leads with the Ogen Group. The Jewish Agency’s activity in Israel impacts all sectors of society, including the Haredi, Arab and Druze populations. 

In its work to rehabilitate Jewish communities hit hard by COVID-19, the Jewish Agency will utilize its international emergency preparedness network, JReady, to provide community leaders and organizations with training in dealing with traumatic events. Representatives of the Board of Governors will meet during the conference with heads of Jewish communities from Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and Italy to hear about the state of emergency preparedness in their communities.

The Jewish Agency will also operate a special fund to boost the security of Jewish communities worldwide and send Israeli emissaries to 65 countries to boost the education and social support systems in local Jewish communities. 

The organization will also continue its development of digital platforms for strengthening the connection between Israel and world Jewry. These platforms will deliver educational content to hundreds of thousands of people despite the limitations of social distance.

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