According to Health Ministry figures from 2018, Israel has 3.1 active physicians per 1,000 people. This statistic is lower than the average in OECD countries and reflects a severe shortage of doctors.
On Sunday morning, against the backdrop of this crisis, 60 physicians from Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations began the state’s preparatory course for the Health Ministry licensing exam, studying at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
Once they pass the ministry’s exam, they can begin working as physicians in Israel.
The doctors arrived under a unique program initiated by the Israel Experience – a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency − as part of MASA Israel program designed to strengthen the nation’s healthcare system. To date, more than 600 physicians have integrated into the healthcare system through this initiative.
The Israel Experience is the country’s leading company specializing in educational tourism and the integration of thousands of interns in high-tech firms in Israel. During the year 2018 alone the company had revenues of $60 million, not including flights.
At Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, participants marked the opening of the 12th cycle of the Physicians Course, in a ceremony attended by Rambam Deputy Director Dr. Avi Weissman and the heads of the Israel Experience.
During the program, the doctors, all of whom arrived as tourists but are eligible to make aliyah under the Law of Return, attend the licensing preparatory course and study Hebrew in an ulpan.
At the end of the year-long course, those who pass the Health Ministry’s qualification exam and decide to make aliyah will be able to integrate directly into the civil and military health systems.
“It is a great privilege for us to bring to Israel, year after year, dozens of physicians who change the face of medicine in Israel, said Amos Hermon, CEO of the Israel Experience. “We are proud to be the ‘sixth Faculty of Medicine’ in Israel.”