Jerusalem, November 15, 2023 – In response to Israel’s pressing healthcare challenges during wartime, Nefesh B’Nefesh has been collaborating with the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency for Israel on assembling a comprehensive database of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish physician volunteers from around the world. The Iron Swords War has heightened the demand for additional medical professionals in Israel, particularly in areas affected by the conflict in the south and north and this new initiative serves as an immediate solution for the shortage.

Designed to immediately bolster Israel’s national healthcare system, this extensive database includes essential information about the volunteers’ medical specialties, Hebrew-language proficiency and the documentation necessary to expedite the process for obtaining a temporary Israeli medical license. This enables the physicians to begin volunteering in hospitals and medical facilities around the country as quickly and efficiently as possible. Each participating physician will generously dedicate an average of two weeks of their time, although some may choose to extend their stay to provide longer-term assistance.

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American Jewish medical professionals seen at Galli Medical Center as they volunteer to help Israel's medical system during the war.

“Supporting Israel’s healthcare system and finding an immediate solution for the physician shortage is extremely vital today,” said Tony Gelbart, Chairman and Co-Founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We are honored to lead this joint initiative, in order to immediately provide Israel with essential care while alleviating the pressure on the nation’s healthcare system in areas where assistance is most urgently needed. In addition, Nefesh B’Nefesh is exploring ways to help solve Israel’s long-term physician shortage as part of a broader strategic plan.”

“The Israeli healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and its remarkable capabilities were demonstrated as soon as the war broke out. At present, we see great importance in strengthening our medical system with highly skilled, value-oriented, Zionist professionals who seek to tie their fate with that of the State of Israel,” said Israel’s Minister of Health, Uriel Buso. “These physicians are offering to help from a deep sense of national mission and love of the people and the Jewish homeland. I thank the doctors who have volunteered to come and help Israel and who are embodying the expression of ‘all of Israel are bound to each other’ in the purest of ways. And I’d like to especially thank Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Jewish Agency, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration for their cooperation on this blessed issue.”

Dr. Abigail Henkin-Wei, an emergency room doctor in West Virginia, volunteers at Magen David Adom in Ashkelon.

Dr. Andrew Griffin of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, PA volunteers at Ichilov Medical Center’s emergency room.

“The support, solidarity, and rallying of our Jewish brothers in the Diaspora, in general, and in North America, in particular, during the war, is very heartfelt and strengthens the State of Israel,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Ofir Sofer. “I want to thank them and salute them for helping our healthcare system by saving the lives of our soldiers as well as the civilians on the home front. Together with all the partners in the project – the Ministries of Aliyah and Integration and Health, Nefesh B’Nefesh, and the Jewish Agency – the people of Israel will win.”

“The mobilization of the Jewish communities in support of the State of Israel, at this difficult time, is particularly moving and strengthens us all,” said Maj.-Gen (ret.) Doron Almog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The physicians who have come to volunteer in the Israeli healthcare system and the volunteers from the Jewish communities who are working side by side with the Israelis in essential fields throughout the country, are a tremendous display of strength and resilience.”

Over seventy physicians from various specialties, including emergency and urgent medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics, cardiology, orthopedics and psychiatry have already arrived in Israel and additional doctors are expected to arrive in the coming weeks as needed. These doctors have integrated into medical centers throughout the country, including Ichilov, Barzilai, Soroka, Beilinson, Hadassah, Rambam, Shamir, Galil Medical Center, and the Magen David Adom Association. There is a particular emphasis on centers in combat areas, such as Sderot and Ashkelon.

This first-of-its-kind program has been made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Marcus Foundation, an organization committed to making a difference in the lives of countless individuals and communities.