Leading Physicians Condemn Israel's American Medical School Closing

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 Leading doctors denounce Israel's American medical school closure

Earlier this month, the Council for Higher Education announced the closure of American medical programs at Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University and the Technion to replace the 130 international students studying there with Israelis at in light of the country's growing shortage of doctors.

But on Wednesday, Professor Raphael Beyar, who chaired the council's own committee to study ways to increase the number of Israeli medical students, said there are other ways to achieve that goal.

“The committee put forward a detailed plan for the admission of 400 additional medical students to four-year programs. There was no need to close foreign programs to admit these additional 400 students,” — Bayard said, adding that he had written a letter to the board criticizing the decision to close the programs.

There is already a shortage of doctors in the State of Israel, especially in remote parts of the country, and the situation is expected to deteriorate significantly in the coming years in light of Israel's aging population in need of better medical care, as well as the expected wave of doctor retirements.

Most Israelis seeking medical education are currently forced to study abroad due to a severe shortage of places in Israeli medical schools.

One of the main obstacles is the increase in the number of so-called “clinical spaces” ;, places in hospitals and laboratories where medical students get hands-on experience.

American programs allow foreign nationals to study in Israel but earn American diplomas and residency in the United States. They have long been considered a boon for Israeli medical system, bringing large amounts of money to the budget for tuition fees — international students pay at least 10 times more than Israelis — as well as boosting Israel's academic reputation internationally and building an informal network of doctors in the United States with close ties to Israel.

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