National Service nurses
National Service nurses Abir Sultan / Flash 90

On Monday, the Knesset will discuss ways to integrate immigrant doctors educated abroad into the Israeli medical system.

Currently, the Israeli medical system finds itself in a brewing crisis: Over 40% of family doctors are over the age of 60, and there are not enough young doctors to replace them. Each doctor treats over 1,000 patients on average, with some treating 1,700-1,800 patients each month.

MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu), who initiated the upcoming "round table" meeting, said his goal is that Israel will adopt a policy of automatic recognition of medical certifications granted abroad, as per the European directive.

In a December 2016 report, Israel's Health Ministry noted a severe shortage of both nurses and pharmacists. Canada's adoption of an agreement recognizing the certification of nurses' from other countries led to an influx of 200 nurses a year from France to Canada. Some of these are nurses who would come to Israel if Israel adopted a similar policy.

Qualita CEO Ariel Kendal said, "It's sad to see the drop in French aliya. Previous years saw 8,000 French Jews immigrating to Israel each year, but in 2016, only 5,000 immigrated. The main reason for this is jobs. The difficulty finding and keeping a job in Israel influences the decision of many French Jews who are deciding whether to immigrate to Israel or remain in France.

"Thousands of immigrant nurses are protesting this situation in which they cannot work in their chosen profession in Israel, because Israel does not recognize their certification. Is it logical that a nurse who treated French citizens and trained in a country with one of the highest standards of medical care in the world should find that she is not good enough for Israel's healthcare system? The Israeli healthcare system is suffering from a huge manpower crisis.

"Those making the decisions must understand that bureaucratic difficulties are preventing immigrants to Israel from working in their chosen professions. Israel is refusing to recognize their certifications.

"Since Qualita's founding, we have worked day and night to find a solution for the financial crisis so man French immigrants find themselves in - but it's not enough. If the situation does not change, the number of immigrants will continue to drop.

"I call on the Health Ministry and other relevant parties to join hands to find a solution to the current situation. It's important to encourage people to immigrate to Israel, but it's just as important to ensure their welfare after the arrive."

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