Photo Credit: Shahar Azran
The MedEx event in Paris provided a comprehensive platform for potential immigrants to engage directly with representatives from Israeli healthcare institution, March 31, 2024.

(Israel Hayom via JNS) In an initiative aimed at combating the critical shortage of medical professionals in Israel, the first European MedEx event, a collaborative effort between the Israeli government and Nefesh B’Nefesh, was held in Paris on Sunday.

This pioneering conference is a key component of a national strategy designed to recruit 2,000 physicians from around the globe over the next five years to bolster Israel’s healthcare system.


The Aliyah and Integration Ministry, Health Ministry and Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with the Jewish Agency, have launched the International Medical Aliyah Program to streamline the immigration and integration process for medical professionals.

This initiative seeks to ensure a seamless transition for these professionals into the Israeli medical sector. The event in Paris marked the beginning of this ambitious program in Europe, gathering more than 400 doctors and dentists from France and Belgium.

The MedEx event provided a comprehensive platform for potential immigrants to engage directly with representatives from Israeli healthcare institutions. This included opportunities to convert medical licenses, explore employment possibilities and learn about the incentives available to medical professionals making aliyah.

First established in the United States eight years ago by Nefesh B’Nefesh, supported by the Marcus Foundation and the Jewish Federations of North America—UIA, the program was created to address Israel’s medical professional shortage. The initiative has now been extended to European shores, signifying a global effort to address the shortfall of healthcare workers in Israel. An OECD report highlighted this urgency, noting Israel’s falling doctor numbers compared to the OECD average.

Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer emphasized the strategic importance of attracting medical professionals to Israel, especially to the Negev and the Galilee. This initiative, according to Sofer, is vital for enhancing the national healthcare system and has been met with enthusiasm from Jewish doctors worldwide, demonstrating their solidarity and commitment to Israel.

Echoing this sentiment, Health Minister Uriel Buso highlighted the national importance of attracting medical talent. Buso sees the MedEx conference as a crucial step in showcasing the opportunities within the Israeli healthcare system and as a call to European Jewish medical professionals to contribute to the nation’s well-being.

Nefesh B’Nefesh co-founders Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass expressed excitement and pride in this significant milestone.

“We are witnessing a historic and exciting moment for our organization as we hold this joint event for the first time on European soil. MedEx is not only important to us as an organization but has proven to be an incredible asset for the State of Israel and the Jewish nation. We hope that this new national program will provide Israel’s healthcare system with the additional manpower and support it currently needs.

“We are proud to be a resource for the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Ministry of Health and the Jewish Agency as we all work together with the goal of enhancing the quality of Israel’s public medicine while providing these olim medical professionals with a smooth transition to working and living in Israel,” they said.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, chairman of the Jewish Agency, highlighted the role of aliyah in strengthening Israel, particularly in challenging times. He praised new immigrants’ commitment to the state and their crucial role in enhancing the healthcare sector.

The event was attended by a host of distinguished guests and representatives from Israel’s health sector, including from hospitals and health funds (HMOs).

Since its inception, Nefesh B’Nefesh has facilitated the aliyah of over 940 physicians and more than 3,000 medical professionals, integrating them into Israel’s healthcare system.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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Efrat Forsher writes for Israel Hayom.