Physicians from North America and the UK represent a valuable resource for the State of Israel, which is expecting to experience a shortage of doctors in the upcoming years, due to a convergence of factors such as population increase and the retirement of immigrant doctors (from the former USSR). The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has released an English-language guide to becoming a physician in Israel, which can be found here.

Disclaimer: Misrad Habriut regulations are subject to change. For the most current information regarding licensing procedures, please see theMisrad Habriut site. Nefesh B’Nefesh does not take responsibility for inaccuracies on the site or changes to the law.

Physicians and dentists should be aware that the IDF is in the process of implementing new rules and regulations about drafting doctors and dentists. The information in the article below is being provided as a service. The IDF is the ONLY official source of information.

Please be in touch with us at [email protected] about how you may be affected by these changes.

Additionally, please refer to the Army Requirements for Physicians section below.

Medical licensing in Israel is a two step process (see below).  It is recommended to begin both steps before making Aliyah.

  1. Apply for medical licensing through Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health).
  2. Apply for board certification through the Moetza HaMada’it (Scientific Council) of the Israeli Medical Association.

In order to practice medicine in Israel, you are required to hold a license issued by the Division of Medical Professions of Misrad Habriut. To be eligible for a license, you must have completed your studies at a recognized medical school, as well as one year of internship or clinical work (the length depends on your specialty).  If you complete your internship prior to Aliyah, you must have a valid medical license from your country of origin. If you have not completed one year of internship prior to Aliyah, you must pass an exam and do your internship (“staj”) in Israel before you can begin your residency. Please note that the above stipulations regarding internship and the licensing exam do not apply to those who have completed American medical programs in Israel.

There is a new requirement for a Hebrew proficiency test for doctors. This could either be passing a Hebrew proficiency YAEL test at a minimum score of 105, completing an Ulpan at level Gimmel or completing a medical Ulpan. However, we haven’t heard of any doctors who were asked to take the exam

If you will need to do your residency in Israel, you may refer to the Israeli Medical Association’s website for information on specialties and sub-specialties. More info can be found here.

Olim can, and should, begin the licensing process about a year prior to making Aliyah. It is important to note that your documents must be verified (see more in the next tab).

Important: Your final medical license can only be issued after you receive Teudat Zehut (completion of your Aliyah process) and submit a copy of it to the MOH.

Note about Osteopathy: If you have a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, you can be licensed by Misrad Habriut as a physician.


  • If you make Aliyah before completing one year of internship, you will be required to take a medical licensing exam in order to be eligible to enter the Israeli staj program. If you have completed USMLE step 1 and step 2 CK you will be exempt from the exam.
  • All other physicians who hold a recognized foreign MD and have completed a recognized internship will be exempt from the Israeli licensing exam – provided they passed all sections of the USMLE.
  • Graduates of foreign medical programs in Israel (Sackler, BGU, TeAMS)  who completed an internship outside of Israel are also required to take the medical exam. If they have completed a residency and are recognized as a specialist by the IMA, they are exempt.
  • Please note that as of now the Israeli ministry of health does not recognize online degrees

Note: Misrad Haklita offers a reimbursement (up to 500 NIS) for Olim who took the governmental licensing exam for physicians. Your eligibility lasts for 10 years from your date of Aliyah. The reimbursement is ONLY given retroactively and will be paid back ONLY after submitting the receipt for your exam to your local Misrad Haklita office. Please contact your local Misrad Haklita office for more information.
Please note: if you didn’t participate in a Misrad Haklita preparation course for the governmental licensing exam, you may be entitled to reimbursement for 2 exams (if needed).

Misrad Habriut now offers a new customer call center to answer questions about licensing for health care professionals. Call *5400 from Israel or 972-8-6241010 from abroad. The center operates Sunday through Thursday, 8am-6pm, and Fridays from 8am-1pm, Israel time.


For the documents that require verification (marked with *), you have 3 verification options.

  1. Verified with an apostille after having the original document notarized (recommended).
  2. Bring it to an ISRAELI notary and have them notarize it.
  3. A verified copy (אימות העתק, Imut He’etek) at the Israeli consulate.

Do not submit any original files. For israeli notaries, see Notarization Services.

The following documents should be submitted to Misrad Habriut:

  1. An application form: Medical Licensing – Questionnaire. Please make sure to have your name written also in its Hebrew transliteration. In addition, you must provide an ISRAELI address and cell phone# (can be of friends/family). Your file will NOT be opened without it.
  2. 2 passport photos.
  3. A photocopy of your Teudat Zehut, including the address stub and/or photocopy of passport. (If you are applying pre-Aliyah, please submit a copy of your current passport).
  4. Final diploma from a recognized university or certification from a university of completion of studies, completion of all requirements for the university, and entitlement to a degree in medicine to be awarded on a certain date. Requires verification*.
  5. A valid medical license. Requires verification*.
  6. Specialist’s certificate from abroad (If applicable).
  7. Professional letter of good standing from the board of the state in which one is licensed. The letter confirms that there are no, and have not been any, disciplinary, negligence or professional ethics complaints against the physician. This letter is issued from the board of the state in which one is licensed. Here you can see an example from NY State.
    1. If it is sent directly to Misrad Habriut from the board it does not have to be notarized. Please ensure in this case, that the letter is sent only once the rest of the documents have been received by the Misrad Habriut.
    2. You may have the letter of good standing sent to you. If you leave it in the sealed envelope- you can add it to the rest of the documents that you send into the MOH- and you do not need to notarize e it. It may be a good idea to ask the board for a copy of the letter- just to have. Physicians from the UK should ask for a letter of good standing to be sent by registered mail from the GMC directly to Misrad Habriut (the GMC will only mail it directly, and this is the only way to guarantee its arrival). Physicians from Montreal should obtain the letter from the College des Medicines du Quebec.
    3. You can have the medical board send it to directly this email address (DO NOT use it for any other purpose): [email protected]
  8. Documentation indicating name change, if relevant.
  9. Letter from the Moetza Hamadait, if you have already been accepted as a specialist.

Please have your USMLE and ‘Letter of Good Standing’ sent to the Ministry of Health after you have sent in your translated/notarized packet to be certain that you have an open file with the MOH and that these documents will be included (if they arrive prior to your packet they may get lost).

It should be noted that some of the documents listed above are only valid for one year from their issuing date.  If you have not submitted your Teudat Zehut (ID) within a year from opening your file with the Misrad Habriut, you may be required to present valid, re-issued documents in order to request your temporary license.

Misrad Habriut now offers a new customer call center to answer questions about licensing for health care professionals. Call *5400 from Israel or 972-8-6241010 from abroad. The center operates Sunday through Thursday, 8am-6pm, and Fridays from 8am-1pm, Israel time.

All applicants should submit all of their licensing documentation to Misrad Habriut via registered mail to: Licensing Department, Ministry of Health, Yermiyahu 39, Jerusalem, 9446724.

The Scientific Council of the Israeli Medical Association (Moetza Mada’it) is responsible for board/specialty certification.

Specialty recognition is a separate process from the general medical licensing procedure, which is done through the Ministry of Health (Misrad Habriut).

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.

The lists of required documents can be found here.

Please email documents to Anna at [email protected] ,  phone: 03-610-0466 or fax: 03-751-6933.

The Specialty Committee can take two or three months to meet and evaluate credentials.  If the Scientific Council decides not to recognize the specialty immediately, it may ask for more course work, 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 his/her case individually.  The Council also requires that a specialist fulfill an adaptation period (“Hatama,” commonly known as “Histaklut”) in a recognized department in Israel and present a letter of recommendation from the head of the department or clinic in order for it to grant a specialty license. The adaptation period is usually 1 to 6 months long.  Make sure the place of your Hatama (Histaklut) is approved by the IMA.  Hatama completed at an unapproved department will not be recognized.  Check here for a list of approved departments (Hebrew):

Although you can work as a specialist in the U.S. without passing the American boards, experience has shown that those who have not passed American Board Certification may have a difficult time receiving IMA recognition. 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.

what is “Hatama” and why should you care?

“Hatama” is a crucial onboarding process where you get to learn the ropes of the Israeli medical system. Don’t look it at as an annoyance. Look at it as an opportunity to learn, network, adapt and integrate. From understanding the basics of the medical system here, the lingo, the process, how referrals and the computer system to brushing up on your Hebrew that will help you to move forward in your professional career. This is also an important time for you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the specialty you are seeking recognition.You are expected to be active, attend department meetings, rounds, presentations etc.

It is important you notify the IMA of where you will be doing your Hatama (hospital and department) in order for them to provide the director with some guidelines and instructions with regards to what is expected from you during your time at the hospital. It is also important to remember that they are observing you during this time – it is important to be involved to a level that by the end of the Hatama, your professional level and experience is understood and recognized by all. Here you can read a translated version of the letter they will receive from the IMA.

If you are within 15 years of your Aliyah date, Misrad Haklita will pay the hospital a fixed amount (5400 NIS, subject to changes) as your salary during Hatama (Histaklut). In order for Misrad Haklita to do so, you must submit a 554 טופס (form) to the HR department of your hospital. 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:
1. Apply for an appeal. It’s on a case-by-case basis. No guarantees.
2. 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 three months of Hatama and only then start collect your Sal Klita payments (Sal Klita payments can start to be collected 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).

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.
  • A photocopy of your license from Misrad Habriut.

Upon approval of your license you will recieve a message (an SMS to your ISRAELI cell phone number ONLY) letting you know to pay for your license.

Payment is to be made online, using your Teudat Zehut number and date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy). Your license will then be mailed (registered) to your home address.

Be sure to look for a little red slip from the postal services in your mail box, letting you know to come pick it up from your local post office.

If, for some reason, the license didn’t arrive, call the Moked (*5400) to ask for the tracking number of your license so you can follow and locate it on the post office website.

If you have not completed an internship overseas prior to making Aliyah, you are required to complete an internship, or staj, in Israel. Before you start working as an intern, you must pass the Israeli internship exam. This exam is very similar to the USMLE Level 2 and is given twice a year.

The following documents must be submitted to Misrad HaBriut, in order to receive permission to take the entrance exam for Staj (internship). Staj placement is determined by lottery. For more information and updates, see the Misrad Habriut website: (Scroll down to view information for physicians from abroad.)

  • 2 passport photos.
  • 2 photocopies of your Teudat Zehut, including the address stub. (If you are a tourist, please submit 2 photocopies of your passport with valid authorization for living in Israel.)
  • Official confirmation of start and end date of studies. Often, this information appears on your diploma or transcript. If not, you can request a letter from your medical school indicating your start and end date.
  • Final diploma from a recognized university (or certification from a university regarding completion of studies, completion of all requirements for the university, and entitlement to a degree in medicine to be awarded on a certain date).
  • Fill out two copies of each of the following forms. A photocopy is not sufficient. Forms must be written in Hebrew:
    1. בקשה להבחן
    2. שאלון לעובדים מקצועיים בתחום הבריאות

English documents do not require translation but must be notarized by an Israeli notary.

Students who graduated from Sackler and other U.S. schools in Israel will be required to provide different documentation.

Once you submit the application to Misrad Habriut and get permission  to take the exam, the exam itself is administered by the Moetza Hamadait (Scientific Council of the Israeli Medical Association): 03-610-0444 or 03-610-0419.

A Misrad Haklita subsidy is available for the first two years of Hitmachut (specialization). The subsidy covers up to 50% of your salary during this period (but not more than 7,390 NIS per month). Note: This subsidy is available for no more than 24 physicians per year, and is dependent on the availability of government funding.

The professional organization for doctors in Israel is the Histadrut HaRofeim B’Yisrael.  This organization deals with all matters concerning doctors, both professional such as examinations, and malpractice laws and personal such as salaries, malpractice insurance, etc.  It publishes a professional semi-monthly magazine as well as personal newsletter on a monthly basis.  They can be contacted at:

IMA – The Histadrut HaRefuit B’Yisrael
Twin Tower 2, Jabotinsky 35, POB 3566
Ramat Gan 52136
Tel:       03 610 0444;
Fax:      03 575 3303

Financial compensation for physician services in Israel varies significantly from normative salary expectations in North America. We recommend speaking to physicians who are already working in Israel, to gain a realistic sense of local salaries.
Salaries and conditions of employment between the various Kupot Cholim (health funds) also vary. You might need to “shop around” to work out the best package.

Banking Benefits
In some Israeli banks, doctors receive special discounts and services, which may include lower fees and favorable loan terms.

Specialties in Demand

While there is a growing demand for physicians in general, there is a particularly strong need for specialists in such areas as family medicine, pediatrics, female gynecologists, geriatrics, radiology, internal medicine, nuclear medicine, anesthesiology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology, pathology, and surgery.

Working for U.S. Employers

Due to the advent of tele-radiology, radiology is one of the most in-demand and lucrative medical professions for North American Olim. Hospitals in the US will hire an Israeli radiologist (provided they have a U.S. license) and pay them to work the U.S. night shift.

Kupot Cholim

Each of the four health funds, Meuchedet, Macabbi, Clalit and Leumit has branches throughout the country. The differences between the health funds lie mainly in the location of their facilities, the types of supplemental policies offered, and additional services offered within the framework of their facilities. Most large cities have a clinic in almost every district. Each fund has its own method of payment and reimbursement policy. Reimbursement is generally on a quarterly basis, and payment is based on the number of patients seen each quarter, but not, however, according to the number of each patient’s visits. Each fund has its own method of keeping track of patients, and at the beginning of each quarter, the doctor submits a list of patients seen in the previous quarter. The funds try to pay the doctor on a monthly, rather than a quarterly basis, with salaries readjusted in order to compensate for varying numbers of patients.
Many physicians work as Atzma’im, independent contractors rather than salaried employees. Therefore, it is recommended to speak to an accountant before accepting a new job offer.


Many physicians combine working in the Kupot Cholim (health clinics) with work in a hospital. While salaries in the Kupot Cholim may be higher, hospitals offer a chance to work in a supportive environment with professional colleagues.
Health funds cover hospitalization costs for their members. Conditions vary from hospital to hospital. Physicians employed directly by a hospital receive a standard pay according to seniority and specialty, supplemented by such items such as overtime and pensions.
For a listing of Israeli hospitals, click here.

Immediate Care Clinics – TEREM

In addition to working for the Kupot or hospitals, another potential place of employment is TEREM. Terem has a network of urgent and immediate care clinics, in and around the Jerusalem area (including branches in Bet Shemesh, Modi’in and Ma’ale Adumim). In many ways, it functions as an ER, but separate from a hospital setting. Terem has a long history of employing oleh doctors, and is particularly keen to employ doctors with an anglo background. You do not necessarily need to have a background in ER work (although this is desirable), and Terem employs family and general doctors, pediatricians, orthopedists, gynecologists, internal medicine and more. For more details, please contact Daniel Lipczer (Personnel Manager) on 02-652-1748 or [email protected]

Private Practice

Anyone who holds a medical license is entitled to open a private practice and set fees as they see fit. When you have a private practice you can see patients on a strictly private basis, or you can receive members of health funds and then be reimbursed by the funds. There are many practices that combine the two.

A good working knowledge of Hebrew is essential. It is strongly advised to take Ulpan upon arrival. Even where an immigrant doctor works entirely with speakers of his/her mother tongue, it is still necessary to deal with the various agencies that make up the Israeli medical network. In addition to regular ulpan, Misrad Haklita offers an ulpan for medical professionals – shlav bet – and opens this class provided there are enough people interested. Be in touch with your branch of Misrad Haklita to find out when the next class will begin.

In order to obtain an Israeli medical license, it is necessary to become a citizen or a permanent resident of Israel.

However, it is possible for non-citizens to obtain limited licensing, designed for individuals who are licensed as physicians outside of Israel and want to volunteer in Israeli hospitals or work in Israel temporarily. Read here for more info: limited permit.

In this scenario you will have to find a hospital to “sponsor” you. This hospital will apply to the ministry of health on your behalf for a limited license to work in its auspice only.

This is the only other way to practice medicine in Israel without being a citizen.

Thanks to Dr. Herman Weiss, Ob-Gyn, for contributing to this interview

Please provide us with a brief description of your work.
Currently I work one day a week in a local medical clinic in meuchedet in Beit Shemesh. Other days, I’m Global Director of Women’s Health in Teva Pharmaceuticals. I am responsible for helping develop medicine for women all around the globe.

What job did you take upon your Aliyah to Israel?/ How did you find your job?
I worked as a doctor in a couple of hospitals. Word of mouth.

What do you, as a doctor bring to “the table” in the world of pharmaceuticals?
Having treated patients, and prescribed medicines, I know what is important and what comes into the equation when having the discussions with patients, which side effects resonate with them. I understand the unmet need and how to quantify it, additionally I understand that in today’s pressing medical world of shrinking time spent with patients it will take a considerable amount of innovation to actually change the treatment paradigm.

What experience do you need to get into your field?
Medical school, residency, private practice on Long Island for years

What is the job market like in Israel?
Very competitive. Rewarding because you are appreciated.

In what way is the job market competitive-Are there too many qualified applicants, are there too few positions or are the companies just choosy?
There are very few big pharma jobs in this area, save for Teva. There are plenty of start-up midsize pharma development positions, but for these roles, experience is essential.

Do you need Hebrew to work in your field in Israel?

What documents do you need in order to practice?
Medical license, training…you can probably find out more through Nefesh B’Nefesh.

Advice for people making Aliya
Keep options open and redefine your goals. In other words, redefine what defines you.

What does it mean to “redefine you”-In what ways does someone have to be flexible when looking for work in Israel? Is it more than being open to a different career path?
As a physician, I spent 24 years in school to practice medicine. Life’s circumstances brought us to Israel and to succeed here in this very competitive field of medicine; after I had already struggled to build up a reputation in the US to have to go and do it again in a country where Hebrew was my second language was very challenging. I was placed in a position where I had to decide, to continue to practice medicine full time and face these challenges, or to redefine myself in a non-patient facing aspect of medicine in pharma development. This also afforded me a great opportunity that would not have been available to me had I stayed in medicine.

How does the field of medicine differ here in the Israel from in the US? How should a doctor coming on Aliyah expect to have to adapt?
It is hard to break into the surgical subspecialties, despite what innovation and cutting edge techniques and technologies you may know. It is competitive. Building up a reputation is critical.

What are the benefits of working in the medical field?
It’s a very rewarding field to be in. It’s about providing health for people who appreciate it and its very useful, too.

More specifically, what are the benefits in working in the field of Biotech/Pharma?
There is a tremendous amount of innovation and start up spirit here, and being able to develop one’s own ideas or get started in any and every aspect of drug and device development is very exciting and provides tremendous opportunity.

Is there a professional organization in your field?
Israeli Medical Society.

What is the salary range?
20-40,000 per month.

How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
Wonderful and definitely the best choice I made.

Dr. Herman Weiss is Global Director of Women’s Health for Teva Pharmaceuticals, [email protected]

*The text below was written by Joseph Sofaer, a recent graduate. NBN is extrmely thankful for his time and efforts in putting this article together.

Medical Licensing Exam for Physicians Who Just Graduated Medical School

Note: If you graduated from a U.S., Canadian or U.K. medical school, and completed a residency or internship prior to moving to Israel, you will NOT be required to take an exam.

If you completed medical school but did not start a residency or perform an internship, you are required to do a one-year intership (‘Staj’) before entering residency. In order to qualify for an internship spot, you must pass a specific licensing exam. The following is one person’s impressions of the exam:

I graduated from the University of Ben Gurion’s International Program (MSIH) in May 2019 and took the licensing exam in October 2019. I thankfully passed after going through an appeal process (which I’ll explain later). Since then I was placed at Shaare Zedek for Staj. The following advice is based on what I went through and will hopefully help prospective doctors.

Registering for the Exam:
The exam is given twice per year: once in the summer/autumn and once in the winter/spring. You must pass the exam before being eligible for Staj. The exact date of the exams varies and registration had to be completed by approximately two months before the date of the exam.

The exam is administered by an office called the Israel Medical Association. Phone: 03-610-0444. You cannot, however, register directly with this office.

Registration was done via the Agaf Rishui Mikzaot Refuah department of the Health Ministry, who have a number of offices to serve the various regions of Israel – Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, etc. They deal with a wide variety of issues pertaining to licensing MDs, including stajers from abroad.

I was told that in order to register, I had to provide the following:

  • MD diploma or certification from your university stating that you have completed your studies and have fulfilled all requirements to be eligible for a degree in medicine, which will be awarded at a certain time
  • Official transcripts
  • Official certification of the date that you commenced and completed your studies
  • Syllabus of the program of study at your school of medicine: subjects studied, courses and examination grades – divided into years (preferably divided into semesters) during the years of study, including starting and finishing dates
  • Teudat Zehut or photocopy of your passport with a valid visa
  • Two passport photos
  • A healthcare worker questionnaire 
  • An application to take the exam

Original documents are not to be sent, only notarized copies that were certified by a licensed notary in Israel. The original notarized certification (with the red ribbon) should be sent, as well as an additional copy of it (a total of two copies).

Documents in languages other than Hebrew and Arabic must be translated into Hebrew by a qualified translator in Israel. A copy of the original document and its translation must be submitted.

After submitting my documents in person and confirming with the office that they had received them, all I had to do was wait for my confirmation to come through. However, as the weeks passed and I still hadn’t received said confirmation I started to worry a little and emailed the office (as I was overseas at the time) to see what was going on. Much to my astonishment, the office emailed me back saying they hadn’t gotten to my application yet (this being already past the deadline for applying for the exam). After a few back-and-forth emails, I received the confirmation – and saw I was registered to take the April 2020 exam instead of the October 2019 exam. Several nervous weeks later and a huge amount of help from Nefesh b’Nefesh’s Head of Government Advocacy and Employment Division, I was confirmed for the October exam!

I later received an email with confirmation of registration and providing the details of the exam (date, time, seat location etc.).

Preparing for and Taking the Exam:
The exam is computerised and is multiple choice, divided into two sections of 110 questions, with 2.5 hours per section and a ~30 minute break in between. You can take the exam in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and other assorted languages. The pass mark is 60%. It is a mentally draining exam, much like the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK and you need to be prepared for this.

I used the UWorld question bank for three months, first learning by fields (internal, pediatrics, surgery etc.) before putting them together. I also used Online Med Ed for their reviews. I’m sure review books could help, but throughout medical school learning through practice questions always worked for me so this is how I did it.

When I took the exam, I found the first session to be much more difficult than expected, but the second section was perhaps a little easier but I’m sure it all depends on the exam and the random question number allotment you receive. Questions were difficult and were often highly specialised (eg. asking an oncologist a question versus a family doctor). It was obvious in the exam that questions are directly taken from random paragraphs in the recommended textbooks and a lot of the time are not clinically based at all. Some questions were definitions of words, some asked about extremely specialised things I hadn’t even learned in medical school and some had mistakes in the question and/or answers. So be prepared for anything that they can throw at you. I don’t recommend reading textbooks back to front, but to learn as much clinical knowledge as you can, which should pull you through.

Approximately 6 weeks after writing the exam I checked my profile on the IMA website and it showed that I had failed the exam, but I had an appeal in a few days because I had received a mark between 55 and 59. I did not get an email! So make sure to check yourself everyday after about a month in case the results were released. The appeal consisted of me going to a specified location where hundreds of other ‘nearly passed’ examinees and I sat in front of computers that showed every question in the exam, the correct answer and the answer I had marked in the exam. If I disagreed with anything to do with a question or answer, I wrote it down on a sheet of paper. After the appeal, I had to look up every question I had written down in the corresponding textbook (ie. surgery questions were looked up in the surgery textbook). I had to find proof that my answer that I had marked was correct, or that the answer shown as correct in the appeal was incorrect. I had to write a separate ‘appeal’ (in Hebrew) for each question, stating proofs from the recommended textbook and a photocopy of said proof. After handing in the appeal in person to the IMA office in Tel Aviv, I had to wait another 6 weeks or so to receive confirmation of my passing the exam (late January by now).

However, another problem came up. The Health Ministry had gone ahead with the lottery (Hagralah) to place Staj doctors before the results of the appeals were finalised, so I had to wait until the next lottery which may not be until June/July. However, Coronavirus put paid to that because the Health Ministry decided to rush through waiting Staj doctors in March 2020 to help with the pandemic and assigned us to hospitals as close to our place of residence as possible. And because the Health Ministry had my wrong address (I had previously lived in Beer Sheva), I was placed in Soroka instead of a Jerusalem hospital (sigh). But thankfully, after a few days of wrangling with the Health Ministry, I received confirmation of my Staj at Shaarei Tzedek in Jerusalem. And that’s where I am now, sending in a bunch of forms and waiting to start life as a working doctor here in Israel!

Note about the USMLE Exams:

It is possible to not have to take the Israeli licencing exam if you have passed the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK. It may be a little more complicated, but will save you time and you will be able to start working earlier (if you’ve already taken and passed said exams before applying for Staj).


  • It is important to know that Olim Chadashim are entitled to some degree of funding from the Misrad Haklitah. In general the Misrad Haklitah will fund you for 6-months.
  • This can be very helpful in getting your foot in the door of a residency spot that would otherwise be unavailable.
  • Of course, if you can find a residency that can start you on a regular teken immediately, you should do so (the salary from the Misrad Haklitah is lower).
  • You must open a Pincas Hitmachut before you begin residency. Otherwise, any time you spend in residency may not be counted!

If you happen to have a research background (e.g. published 3 papers) then you may qualify for assistance from the Misrad L’Klitah B’Madah (02-675-2767). They will provide funding for up to 3 years, although the salary is fairly low. Once again, this is only an option you’d want if you couldn’t be accepted to your residency of choice with regular funding.

[email protected]

ARMY REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICIANS  (went into effect in Oct. 2020):


You are either: 23-26 27-29 30-33
OR have an age of arrival: 23-26 27-29 30-33
AND have an Israeli medical license: Yes Yes Yes
AND have completed your Shnat Histaglut*: Yes Yes Yes
YOU WILL SERVE FOR: 24 months 20 months 18 months (*If you are married and have kid(s) – you are exempt from service)


You are either: 23-26 27-29 30 or older
OR have an age of arrival: 23-26 27-29 30 or older
AND have an Israeli medical license: Yes Yes
AND have completed your Shnat Histaglut*: Yes Yes
YOU WILL SERVE FOR: 24 months 18 months EXEMPT

Female physicians who are married and/or single mothers are EXEMPT from army service.

The official IDF article about length of service for physicians and dentists can be FOUND HERE.

  1. Doctors will go through basic training and then they will join a 3.5 month preparatory program to get to know the army medical system.  Depending on their Hebrew level, the army will decide if they need an Ulpan. This will leave them 14 months to serve as doctors in the army.
  2. Almost all doctors will serve as battalion doctors (in army bases and not in clinics), and will be giving general medical treatment.
  3. Doctors will only join the officers’ course if they wish to continue serving beyond the 18 months.

Physicians to which the above applies, will be asked to do Milu’im (serve in the reserves) until the age of 43. You will be paid a salary during this time. Regardless of your age, all physicians should be in touch with Nefesh B’Nefesh regarding the possibility of IDF service (The IDF may change the age limit at any time).

The army is entitled to draft you after six months. You are allowed to defer the service for up to twenty-four months from your Aliyah date. If you are asked to serve before the six month period, you are asked to sign a waiver – and it is your right to refuse.

For more information about army service, see Army Service – Length of Service for Men and Women.

Completing a Residency While in the Army
The army allows physicians to do their residency while serving.  However, that can only be done after completing two significant combat roles.  The following residencies are approved: family, psychiatry, public health, and occupational medicine.

Serving as a Specialist
Physicians can serve as a specialist in their field only after completing their first tour as a battalion doctor.

Salaries in the Army
For the first 18 months, the salary is around 15,000 NIS per month.  Physicians who wish to serve more than 18 months will receive a better salary.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration is offering a retroactive reimbursement of up to NIS 4000 to Olim who were required to translate and/or notarize documents in order to transfer their professional license in Israel.

Please note the following conditions:
–  Olim must submit their original receipts (or verified copies).
–  The reimbursement is only retroactive from January 15, 2015.
– Only Olim who have not yet reached retirement age are eligible.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration is offering a retroactive reimbursement of up to 4,000 NIS to Olim who were required to translate and/or notarize documents in order to transfer their professional license in Israel.  The Oleh must submit the original receipts (or verified copies).

  • The reimbursement only covers translations and notarizations for professional needs
  • You can be reimbursed retroactively back to receipts that were issued from January 15, 2015
  • Age limit: Retirement age

In addition, the Ministry offers a reimbursement for Olim who took the governmental licensing exam.  Your eligibility lasts for 10 years from your date of Aliyah.  The reimbursement is ONLY given retroactively and will be paid back ONLY after submitting the receipt for your exam to your local Misrad Haklitah office.

Please note:  If you didn’t participate in a Misrad Haklitah preparation course for the governmental licensing exam, you may be entitled to reimbursement for two exams (if needed).

How can we help your Aliyah?