Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90
New Olim and their Israeli families at Ben Gurion International Airport, July 20, 2016.

According to figures presented on Wednesday to the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs, chaired by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, 494 physicians made Aliyah in 2023, as did 83 nurses, 42% of whom came from Russia.

The average age of physicians who immigrate to Israel is 41.4, and the median age is 37.


The Health Ministry reported that over the past five years, 1,753 new olim doctors have been absorbed into Israel’s healthcare system.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration helped 928 new immigrant physicians find employment in the healthcare system.

The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, chaired by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), January 10, 2024. / Courtesy of the Knesset

The committee debated ways to remove obstacles to hiring immigrant physicians. The committee heard a report by the Finance Ministry, through the Medical Directorate in the Health Ministry, that 70 positions are allocated annually, on a waitlist basis, for the specialization of immigrant doctors. Over the past five years, 149 new immigrant doctors have filled these positions. On average, 1-3 of these positions become available every month, and doctors from the waitlist are first to be considered.

Senior Health Ministry official Rachel Brenner Shalem told the committee, “Most of the professional absorption process of doctors from Western countries is completed while they are still abroad. Doctors who come from the United States can essentially begin working in Israel 24 hours after they arrive in Israel. We are advancing a regulatory change to reduce from 14 to only 8 years the period graduates of foreign medical schools have to legally practice medicine overseas to receive an exemption from the Israeli medical licensing exam.”

Committee Chair MK Forer said, “Since 2020, not a single position was added for the specialization of immigrant doctors. Even though doctors have continued to make Aliyah to Israel, the number of positions has remained at 70, and this is why the wait time for a position is 20 months. The Scientific Council’s professional committees for specialist accreditation convene every 6-8 weeks on average. The Exemptions Committee convenes once a month. These committees have to convene more frequently in light of the expected increase in the number of physicians who will make Aliyah to Israel.”

Claudia Katz, director of the Employment Division in the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, told the committee that “Currently, new immigrants wait 10-12 months for the accreditation of degrees they obtained in their countries of origin. We are working with all the government ministries to shorten the wait time. New immigrant doctors who come from countries whose medical schools are recognized by Israel are exempt from a Hebrew exam.”

Health Ministry official Milla Guilltin told the committee, “We shortened the process in the ministry for accrediting degrees, and now it can take only a few minutes. The most important process in immigration absorption, particularly for doctors, is learning the language and continuing to work in their original profession. We are having difficulties teaching Hebrew in Israel to doctors who have immigrated, and we are in the process of teaching them Hebrew before their Aliyah. This will make it easier on the system and the new olim themselves.”

Ronen Fuxman of Nefesh B’Nefesh told the committee, “We begin the professional absorption process even before the doctors immigrate to Israel,” and added, “Our goal is to bring 600 physicians to Israel in 2024.”

Forer summed up the meeting, saying, “We need to increase the number of committees that approve specialization positions for new immigrant doctors. I ask that the director general of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration create the right budget for increasing the number of committees. The number of medical professionals who will make Aliyah to Israel in the coming years will gradually increase, and we must be prepared for this scenario.”


Previous articleWhatever You Crave
Next articleUN Security Council Demands End to Houthi Attacks in Red Sea
David writes news at