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Sunday 27 January 2008

Israel offers Anglo docs cash for aliya

Israel offers Anglo docs cash for aliya
By Yair Ettinger
Jewish doctors from the U.K., U.S. and Canada who immigrate to Israel
will receive an absorption package worth $60,000, the government and the
Nefesh B'Nefesh immigration organization announced yesterday.

The initiative is part of a joint venture by the absorption and health
ministries and Nefesh B'Nefesh intended to reverse the trend of Israeli
doctors being lured abroad by bigger salaries.

"Nefesh B'Nefesh has identified a national strategic need of immediate
urgency and is honored to channel itself to bolster the number of
physicians in Israel," said Rabbi Joshua Fass, co-founder and executive
director of Nefesh B'Nefesh.

According to recent statistics, Israel's current rate of 3.4 doctors per
1,000 people is estimated to drop to 2.5 doctors by 2025.

Plans to open a fifth medical school in Israel are underway and the
initiative's organizers say the package, which will be given in addition
to the regular absorption package offered to immigrating Jews, will help
address the expected dearth.

Physicians under 40 who have completed their medical studies in either
North America or Britain will receive $25,000 upon arrival in Israel.
Over the next few years, they will be paid between $1,000 and $1,500 a

Applicants are promised shortened procedures to receive their medical
and driver's licenses. In return, they must commit to work in Israel for
at least nine months a year. Over the coming months, Nefesh B'Nefesh
plans to launch a campaign among Jewish doctors in the Diaspora to
promote the program.

Health Minister Yacov Ben-Yizri said that it is "important to encourage
every Jewish doctor in the Diaspora to immigrate and offer his skills.
It is of the utmost importance to have doctors immigrate, and I promise
that the Health Ministry will do everything it can to help this blessed

Absorption Minister Jacob Edery added: "The shortage in the number of
doctors over the next decade requires us to make a joint effort, and
that is why the Absorption Ministry has joined the program. It will give
funds and additional aid to ensure that the [doctors] are absorbed as
well as possible into the Israeli health system."


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