Bar Ilan University opened the doors to its new medical school in Tzfat on Sunday after years of planning.
The curriculum of the new institution, Israel's fifth medical school, includes advanced studies as well as training for physicians in the basic areas of clinical and general medicine.
To celebrate the opening of the new campus, the government elected to hold its weekly Sunday Cabinet meeting in Tzfat.
President Shimon Peres addressed the campus inauguration ceremony along with government ministers as well as regional and local officials.
The government, which had allocated some NIS 30 million to establish the school, added another NIS 20 million last month to upgrade teaching at hospitals in the north for the benefit of the students attending the school. Bar Ilan University also invested millions of shekels in the institution.
Staff members were recruited primarily from leading universities abroad, some of whom have immigrated to Israel with their families. Others are returning Israelis who have decided to live in the Galilee.
Some 124 students will attend the four-year program, 54 of whom are Israeli students who have been studying at universities abroad and who have returned to Israel in order to complete their residency.
The state promised that the students learning abroad will be integrated into Israel's medical system to beef up the number of medical doctors in the periphery.
It is hoped that some of the graduates will decide to remain in the Galilee, where there is a severe shortage of medical personnel.
“I am really looking forward to having a medical school in our area,” said Esther K., a teen at a girls' high school in Tzfat who spoke briefly on Sunday morning with Arutz Sheva.
“Especially one associated with Bar Ilan University – my parents are a lot more likely to consider allowing me to attending a nursing school that's closer to home, and one associated with Bar Ilan.”