Be'er Sheva, the capital of the Negev באר שבע
Be'er Sheva, the capital of the Negev באר שבע iStock

Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, in coordination with the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, has approved a generous grant package for certain olim (new immigrants) who decide to live and work in the country’s northern and southern peripheral regions.

The grant package is being allocated to incentivize healthcare professionals and engineers to live in Israel’s periphery. Physicians will be eligible to receive 50,000 NIS ($14,300) per family, while the other professions will be given 20,000 NIS ($5,720). Both grant packages will be disbursed in two installments, delivered during their second and 13th months residing in the North or in the southern Negev region.

In order to receive the package, one head of the household must be an eligible new immigrant who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in the past 24 months, will be living and working in Israel’s periphery, and has a license to work in the following professions: medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical assistant, optometry, orthotics, clinical genetics, medical lab worker, speech pathology, dietician, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dental technician, dental hygienist, nursing, clinical criminology, podiatry, and surgical podiatry.

The incentive comes in the wake of a looming healthcare staffing shortage that is slated to impact the entire country and, in particular, the periphery. According to Associate Director General of Israel’s Health Ministry, Dr. Sefi Mendlovic, the next three years will be a critical period with regard to addressing this issue, as Israel may very well see a severe shortage of physicians from 2026-2030.

Minister for the Development of the Periphery, Negev, and Galilee Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu), said: "As part of my role as Minister for the Development of the Periphery, Negev and Galilee, I am implementing an important strategic plan which the Israeli government approved, that will look out for the health needs of the residents of the Negev and the Galilee."

"For many years there has been a major shortage of doctors in Israel’s peripheral regions, therefore I made it a top priority to change the situation when I took office. The program we initiated is meant to encourage the immigration of Jewish medical professionals and engineers from around the world to Israel.

"As part of the initiative, an oleh physician who moves to the Negev or Galilee will be able to receive a grant of up to NIS 50,000. Olim from the nursing and engineer professions, which are also seeing a major personnel shortage, will be entitled to a grant of up to NIS 20,000. In this way, we hope to expand and strengthen Israel’s periphery, grow Israel's economy, and improve the medical treatment and availability for the residents of these areas. This is true Zionism."

"The medical professionals and engineers who choose to make Aliyah and live in the Negev and Galilee are the essence of Zionism and an integral part of our national mission to grow the country. We will continue to assist these professionals in all areas of life by removing the barriers and challenges they may face," said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White).

"The new grants package is just part of a broad process to encourage the immigration of trained professionals from the medical and engineering fields to Israel's periphery. I welcome these olim who are strengthening the Negev and the Galilee, and I thank Minister Forer and the local ministries for their cooperation. I am confident that the grant package will help strengthen the economy and health care system in these regions, which urgently require high level manpower assistance."

"Nefesh B’Nefesh has been working closely with the Israeli government to find viable solutions to Israel’s healthcare staffing crisis," said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. "We are streamlining the aliyah process for olim looking to practice medicine in Israel. We welcome this grant package as a means to incentivize talented individuals to establish their home in Israel’s periphery and to contribute their invaluable care and expertise."

As such, the organization has provided a plethora of resources to potential olim in the medical professions — including during its annual MedEx event held in New Jersey, which offers a one-stop shop where prospective olim can get their medical license recognized and interview for potential jobs all in one day.

Those interested in receiving the new grants must apply by Dec. 24, 2022. The grants also apply to a katin chozer (returning minor) and an ezrach oleh (immigrant citizen).

Those planning on making Aliyah before Dec. 24 should apply for the grants with their local Jewish Agency branch, while those already residing in Israel should apply via the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.