Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that Israel's newest medical school will open its doors for the first time in October 2011, with students beginning their studies in buildings next door to Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat.

The new school will welcome 70 new students to the Galilee, following a decision made some five years ago and subsequently promoted by former Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Shimon Peres, the nation's current president.

It was the current minister, Silvan Shalom, who took the plan from paper to positive action and decided not to wait for permanent buildings but instead issued the necessary permits so the students can study in temporary structures.

The school will be associated with Bar-Ilan University, which will also fund the new medical school. The initial five-year plan calls for a budget of some NIS 150 million ($40 million), which is to be paid by Bar-Ilan.

“Bar-Ilan University will establish a leading faculty of medicine integrating cutting-edge research similar to that conducted in the world's top medical schools,” said the university's president, Professor Moshe Kaveh, in a statement. “The medical school complex will include a state-of-the-art facility which will house 40 medical research teams and absorb returning Israeli scientists."

Bar-Ilan University is in charge of academic accreditation in four outlying Israeli colleges: Tzfat, Western Galilee, Ashkelon and Kinneret in the Jordan Valley.