According to a recent announcement in Israel, it is shutting down three lucrative American medical programs in the country that are offered at Israeli universities.
This is being done to provide more space for local students, as there seems to be a shortage of doctors in the country.
These programs are in place for foreign nationals living in Israel, which mostly include Americans. They use these programs for studying medicine and then complete their residencies in the US.
The Health Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Council for Higher Education approved the move. The closure is expected to increase the medical students in Israel each year by 130, starting from 2023.
This move comes after the country quality concerns prompted the country to stop recognizing medical degrees from various countries, thereby leading to a shortage of doctors in Israel.
Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister, said that this move would help them in tackling the growing needs of the country, as they would be able to increase the number of medical students.
The closure of the programs would happen from the fall of next year and students who are currently enrolled in these programs would be permitted to complete their studies.
There are currently three universities that are offering American-accredited programs, which include the Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, the Tel Aviv University and the Technion in Haifa.
As mentioned earlier, these programs are mostly used by Americans living in Israel, although not exclusively, and they do so for studying medicine in English.
They then go for their residencies in the US and there are a few cases where the students return to Israel for practicing medicine, after they have completed their residencies.
However, majority of the students choose to remain in the United States, or Canada, after completing their residencies.
Even though the Education Minister, along with the Council for Higher Education stated that the closure of the programs was a major step forward in addressing the shortage of doctors, they did not mention the costs associated with it.
This includes the figurative costs, along with the literal ones, of closing these programs, which have been running for decades in the State of Israel.
As a matter of fact, these medical studies provide the three Israeli universities that offer these programs with a major source of income.
The American programs have a tuition of $40,000 a year, which is about 10 times more than the medical programs in Israel, which are around $3,400 a year.
In order to help the universities in making up for this loss, the government will offer them subsidies of around NIS 58,000 a year for every additional medical student in Israel.
However, this is still less than what they would have gotten from the programs that are being cancelled. Apart from that, the programs’ closure will also affect Israel-Diaspora relations.
These programs have allowed thousands of American doctors to spend a lot of time in Israel, helping them develop ties with the country and the people.