The Scientific Council (Moetza Mada’it) of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) is responsible for board/specialty certification. Specialty recognition is a separate process from the general Misrad Habriut medical licensing procedure.
Note: Surgical specialties require a detailed list (log) of surgeries performed during your career. Please see the list here and let us know if you need assistance or clarifications.
As you will see, the list of documents can be a bit confusing so here is a short clarification regarding a few items on the list:
#5 is a certification of completing an internship (NOT residency), if applicable.
#6 is a certification of completing residency.
#7 is a syllabus of your residency, as detailed as possible.
#8 is your board certification.
Please email documents to Anna at [email protected], phone: 03-610-0466 or fax: 03-751-6933.
It is important to submit your documents to the Scientific Council before your Aliyah, if at all possible. Once the Scientific Council receives and processes your documents, they will send you a letter explaining what you need to do in order to be qualified as a specialist in your field.
How long does it take for your documents to be evaluated?
The Specialty Committee can take two or three months sometimes, even more) to meet and evaluate credentials. If the Scientific Council decides not to recognize the specialty immediately, it may ask for more coursework, an extension of the residency (“Hitmachut“), or exams. This is up to the committee and each applicant must be in direct contact with the Council to discuss their case individually.
American Board Certification
Although you can work as a specialist in the U.S. without passing the American boards, those who have not passed American Board Certification may have a difficult time receiving IMA recognition. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to pass the American Boards before making Aliyah.
In many specialties the Israeli residency period is 12-18 months longer than the residency periods abroad. We highly recommend working in a hospital following your residency, because this can be counted towards the residency period in Israel. In addition, if you are working in private practice but maintain a part-time affiliation with a hospital, this might also be counted towards your Israeli residency period.
To obtain a specialty license in Israel, specialists must undergo Hatama (or Histaklut), an adaptation period in a recognized department lasting 1 to 6 months (most doctors are required for 3 months). Requirements include a letter of recommendation from the department head and IMA approval. See the following list of approved departments (Hebrew): www.ima.org.il/MainSite/Departments/Default.aspx. Hatama is crucial for specialists to learn, network, and integrate into the Israeli medical system. It covers medical basics, Hebrew language improvement, and showcases expertise in the desired specialty. The IMA closely observes specialists during Hatama and provides guidelines and instructions to the director. Click HERE to read a translated version of the letter that the IMA will send to the director.
Note: Verification of the following vaccinations is required prior to beginning Hatama:
Hepatitis B (including antibody level)
Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis
PPD (within 2 years)
If you are within 15 years of your Aliyah date, Misrad Haklita will pay the hospital a fixed amount, 5571 NIS per month (Israel’s minimum wage, subject to change)), as your salary during Hatama (Histaklut). In order for Misrad Haklita to do so, the HR department of your hospital must submit a 554 טופס (form). There is a small “bug” in the system: Misrad Haklita will not pay your Hatama salary if you begin the adaptation period while still receiving Sal Klita payments. In order to receive both your Sal Klita and your salary, you can do one of the following:
Apply for an appeal. It’s on a case-by-case basis. No guarantees but 99% of the cases are being approved.
Separate Sal Klita payments from the stipend. You can either complete getting your Sal Klita payments and only then start your Hatama (and the stipend) or complete your Hatama and only then start collecting your Sal Klita payments (Sal Klita payments can be collected anytime during the first year of your Aliyah).
For more information, please contact your Misrad Haklita counselor.
Family physicians (and in certain cases psychiatrists) can do their Hatama period in a community clinic. Please contact the IMA for more information. The Scientific Council’s decision regarding Hatama is valid for five years. If you made Aliyah five years after receiving your letter about your Hatama, you will need to submit a new application to the IMA.
Please note that it is possible to complete the Hatama period under a limited license (given to tourists who are interested in exploring the Israeli medical system prior to Aliyah).
Documents needed after Hatama to be recognized as a specialist
Once you finish your Hatama, submit the following forms to the Moetza Mada’it (IMA) in order to be recognized as a specialist:
A signed letter from the head of the department (where you did your Hatama) stating that you have completed your Hatama. Please make sure the beginning and end dates of your Hatama period are mentioned in the letter.
A form asking to be recognized as a specialist. To print the form, click here.
Payment for recognition of your specialty. For details, click here. If you need further assistance, call 03-610-0444.