In an effort to raise the number of Israeli medical school graduates, the government of Israel has decided to stop allowing foreign students to pursue their MD in Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the Health and Finance Ministries decided to take action this week after observing the large number Israeli students leave the country to become physicians in Europe.
The decision will bar American and Canadian students from studying at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Ben-Gurion Faculty of Health Sciences (BGU) in Beersheba and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Haifa. The graduating class of 2026 is now set to be the last group of foreign MD students in Israel.
Deans of the Israeli schools have reacted to this decision. Dr. Stephen Lazar, TAU’s executive dean, sent a letter to all of TAU’s foreign medical students. “It is with the deepest regret that I must inform you that the Israeli government has directed all foreign medical programs, including American medical programs, to stop accepting new students,” said the letter. “Demonstrated successful cooperation of medical institutions in the US, Canada and Israel were not considered in this political action.”
BGU president Prof. Daniel Chamovitz told the Jerusalem Post: “We asked the CHE three years ago for permission to accept Israelis into our international program with foreign students, but we were turned down twice.” He does not foresee an eventual reversal of the government’s decision to turn down foreign students. He added that because of the significant shortage of physicians in the Negev, BGU will do all it can to increase its graduates and encourage them to remain in the south.