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Yad L’Olim achieves breakthrough in language accessibility for immigrants in the Israeli healthcare system

The new permanent state budget will now include dedicated funding for state hospitals to employ medical experts who speak the languages of olim as their mother tongues.

From left: Knesset member Tatiana Mazarsk, MK Uriel Buso and former MK Dov Lipman, founder and CEO of Yad L’Olim. Credit: Courtesy of Yad L’Olim.
From left: Knesset member Tatiana Mazarsk, MK Uriel Buso and former MK Dov Lipman, founder and CEO of Yad L’Olim. Credit: Courtesy of Yad L’Olim.

The Yad L’Olim Government Relations Department announced a major breakthrough in its work to ensure language accessibility for olim (new immigrants) within the Israeli healthcare system.

The new permanent state budget will now include dedicated funding for state hospitals to employ medical experts who speak the languages of olim as their mother tongues. The languages covered will include English, French, Russian and Amharic depending on the demographics of the olim in the area. These medical personnel will be readily available to assist olim patients with translations, thereby enhancing their ability to communicate with medical personnel. This will ease the hospital experience for olim and ensure they receive optimal medical care and treatment.

Yad L’Olim worked together with MK Tatiana Mazarski (Yesh Atid) who represented the issue in the Knesset Health Committee and worked with committee chairman MK Uriel Buso (Shas) to include this funding and directive in the state budget. This marks a significant achievement in healthcare rights for new immigrants.

Dov Lipman, a former Knesset member and the founder and CEO of Yad L’Olim, commented: “Language accessibility in the healthcare system is one of Yad L’Olim’s top government relations agenda items. We are so happy about this development, which took months of work in the halls of the Knesset. MK Mazarski dedicated herself to getting this done from the first meeting we had with her about this topic. We thank her for her remarkable commitment to the entire olim community. We also thank Knesset Health Committee chairman MK Uriel Buso, without whose agreement and cooperation this could not have happened. There are still many steps needed before this new policy is implemented in hospitals, but it will now be the law. We will of course be on top of making sure that it’s implemented and continue our work to improve healthcare accessibility for olim.”

MK Mazarski stated, “The Yad L’Olim staff met with me about the lack of language accessibility in the health system for olim. I am committed to helping all olim and immediately went to work to address this issue. I submitted legislation requiring the state hospitals to hire medical experts who speak various languages as mother tongues. I thank Health Committee Chairman MK Buso who accepted our proposal to be included in the new state health budget. I have worked together with Yad L’Olim since its inception two years ago and look forward to working together with them to do much more for all olim.”

MK Buso commented, “I am happy that I had the merit of helping olim in this matter via the Knesset Health Committee. Thanks to this initiative there won’t be any barriers for olim in the most critical moments. They will get the information and the treatment that they need. I am very proud that we made this part of the fixed budget for all governments moving forward.”

Yad L’Olim continues its commitment to helping olim from all backgrounds and facilitating their successful absorption and acclimation to life in Israel, which includes ongoing work within the Knesset to push forward laws that benefit the olim community. This groundbreaking achievement exemplifies the nonprofit’s success in making real change.

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