Tuesday, October 19, 2021

  • Tuesday, October 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Israel has a severe shortage of doctors, and prospects to improve that are not good. Israel is near the bottom of all developed countries in the number of medical school graduates per 100,000 people.

There is fear that things will get much worse as the many doctors who immigrated in the 1990s from the former Soviet Union retire.

Recently, Israel decided to attract Jewish doctors, nurses and other medical professionals worldwide by streamlining the process by which they can move to Israel and get certified:

On Sunday, the government approved a plan to aggressively fast-track training and employment opportunities for Jewish doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other paraprofessionals who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.   

The initiative comes as the country’s health care system is mired in crisis, with medical interns and residents threatening mass resignations unless their shifts are shortened. The government has said that without the long shifts, hospitals will be understaffed due to lack of personnel. 

Medical staff shortages in Israel are only expected to intensify in the coming years.

“This decision will help bring thousands of doctors, nurses and paramedical professionals who live abroad and want to immigrate to Israel, while also helping to alleviate the workload of the interns in hospitals,” said Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, who spearheaded the plan in partnership with the health and finance ministries. 
One bright spot in the story is the huge increase in the number of Arab doctors, nurses and pharmacists. 

The rise of Arab health professionals has been meteorotic, as Haaretz recently reported:
New data issued by the Health Ministry in a 2020 report on health care personnel show that the Arabs and Druze in Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population, constitute almost half (46 percent) of recipients of medical licenses; half of the new nurses, male and female (50 percent, as compared with just 9 percent in 2000); and more than half the dentists (53 percent) and pharmacists (57 percent).

In addition to the fact that Arabs comprise a vastly larger proportion of the medical field than their share in the population, this meteoric surge within just two decades has transformed the face of medicine in Israel. Besides the leap of more than fivefold in the number of Arab nurses since the start of the century, there has been a fourfold increase in the number of Arab physicians, the number of Arab dentists has more than doubled and the overall proportion of Arab pharmacists has almost tripled, from 21 percent in 2000 to 57 percent in 2020.

There are plenty of articles about the huge increase of Arab doctors in Israel, with no negative comments. On the contrary, the Arab doctors have been celebrated. As The Atlantic reported last year:

Israeli media regularly feature stories of Arab-Jewish intimacy in the quarantine wards. The newspaper Yediot Aharonot published a four-page photo essay of Arab and Jewish nurses—the first time in memory it featured Arabs as Israeli heroes.  A video from the coexistence group Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? showing nurses removing their masks to reveal hijabs drew more than 2 million viewers. Images of Arab-Jewish coexistence have gone viral—like the photograph of an Arab doctor bringing a Torah scroll into an isolation ward, or of two medics pausing before their parked ambulance to pray, one man in a prayer shawl, the other on a prayer rug.
Rabidly antisemitic Arab media, however,  see nothing but an anti-Arab conspiracy in Israel trying to attract more doctors during a serious doctor shortage.

Palestinian and Israeli Arab media immediately reported the story by claiming that the entire purpose of the plan was not to address a doctor shortage, but "to curb the continuous rise in the percentage of Arab doctors in the health system."

An Arab Israeli newspaper made an unsubstantiated claim  - repeated by many other Arab news outlets - that hundreds of Arab medical professionals who pass their certification cannot get jobs. Yet they bring no statistics, not one anecdote of frustrated unemployed Arab doctors. On the contrary, the very reason so many Arab Israelis are becoming doctors is because it is much easier for them to get jobs in the medical field than in high-tech, where one often gets jobs based on connections forged in the army. 

It is pure Jew-hatred to claim that that a country suffering from a severe shortage of medical personnel is so racist that it prefers its own citizens die rather than be treated by Arab doctors.

Now the antisemitic claims are becoming more crazed. A Jordanian writer claims in Al Rai that Israel plans to "expedite the expulsion of hundreds of Palestinian doctors" from their jobs. 

The writer even betrays his own racism, saying, "The racist decision-maker is the Jewish/Ethiopian immigrant, the Minister of Immigration and Absorption.. Tamano-Shata." What exactly is the relevance of her being an immigrant from Ethiopia? 

The only bigotry here is from Arab media. As usual.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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