Volunteer physicans bolster Israel’s health-care shortage during war

As part of a new joint initiative, participants will dedicate an average of two weeks of their time, though some may choose to extend their stay.

American Jewish medical professionals seen at Galli Medical Center as they volunteer to help Israel's medical system during the war, November 2023. Credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh.
American Jewish medical professionals seen at Galli Medical Center as they volunteer to help Israel's medical system during the war, November 2023. Credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh.

In response to Israel’s pressing health-care 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.

Designed to boost Israel’s national health-care system, an extensive database includes essential information about the volunteers’ medical specialties, Hebrew-language proficiency and documentation necessary to expedite the process of obtaining a temporary Israeli medical license. Each participating physician will dedicate an average of two weeks of their time, though some may choose to extend their stay to provide longer-term assistance.

“Supporting Israel’s health-care system and finding an immediate solution for the physician shortage is extremely vital,” 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 health-care system in areas where assistance is most urgently needed.” He added that Nefesh B’Nefesh is also exploring ways to help solve Israel’s long-term physician shortage as part of a “broader strategic plan.”

Dr. Andrew Griffin
Dr. Andrew Griffin of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, Pa., is assisting in the emergency room at Ichilov Medical Center. Credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“The Israeli health-care 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.”

Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer said “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.”

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

“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 health-care 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.”

More than 70 physicians from various specialties, including emergency and urgent medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics, cardiology, orthopedics and psychiatry, have already arrived in Israel. 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.

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Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, strives to facilitate and celebrate aliyah, and advocate for olim. By minimizing financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles, new arrivals are able to actualize their dreams and continue building a stronger Israel. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its 75,000 new immigrants have ensured that 90% have remained in Israel.

See more at: https://www.nbn.org.il/.

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