A joint committee of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee and the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs unanimously approved for a final vote in the plenum two bills and regulations stating that within a month the health minister will determine, with the committee`s approval, that dentists who recently immigrated to Israel will be exempt from certification exams if they practiced dentistry in their home countries for at least five years. Currently, dentists who immigrate to Israel are required to take a series of exams, regardless of their experience or seniority.

The legislation also states that new immigrants who were certified abroad as occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists and therapists who treat people with communication disorders, will be able to receive a certification from the Health Ministry and work in their profession in Israel as well, even if they do not have a degree, under the condition that in their home countries it is not possible to obtain an academic degree in the said professions. These professionals will not be exempt from exams in Israel, but these exams will be given, apart from Hebrew, in Russian, Spanish and French, and the Health Ministry will be permitted to grant exemptions from practical training to those who worked in their professions in their home countries for at least a year.

Approved for a final vote in the plenum: Exemptions and relief for dentists and paramedical professionals who recently immigrated to Israel

Health Minister Yakov Litzman (archives)

During Monday`s meeting, Committee Chairman MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said ”this is a historic moment, and we will not be satisfied with these laws alone; we will work to regulate all the health care professions in order to assist in the absorption of immigrants and reduce the bureaucracy and the numerous hardships the immigrants face as part of their professional integration.”

MK Avraham Naguisa (Likud) said the complex absorption process in Israel causes some new immigrants distress and they eventually leave the country. ”They are not looking to make a profit, only to build a home in Israel,” he stated.

Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said: ”It`s absurd that we exempt general physicians who studied in certain countries from exams and training, while all dentists are obligated to take a series of exams. I will to cancel all tests and training programs for experienced dentists.”

Minister of Immigration and Absorption Zeev Elkin (Likud) said, ”This is an historic change that will ease the absorption of immigrants while maintaining the level of medicine in Israel.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) opposed the exemption for dentists, and said ”if a doctor cannot pass an exam, perhaps his abilities are not up to par with the level of treatment in Israel,” he argued.