Making aliyah as an adult can be hard. This MK is working to change that – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 13, 2021

Yamina MK Yomtob Kalfon moved to Israel from France at age 18. He advises young Jews around the world who are considering aliyah to emulate him and immigrate before starting their careers, so that can avoid Israels infamous bureaucracy.

Kalfon pointed out that one of the top issues for many olim aged 30-55 from what he called wealthy western countries like the US, UK and France, is Israels lack of recognition of their foreign degrees.

These people dont want charity, they want to work, Kalfon told The Jerusalem Post in an interview. If they have a diploma, let them work with that diploma. If they have talents, dont place roadblocks that prevent them from exercising their talents here.

Thats exactly Dr. Jonathan Wiesens story. He graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2009, completed his residency in the Cleveland Clinic -- the second-best hospital in the world according to Newsweek -- and is triple board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and critical care.

cnxps.cmd.push(function () { cnxps({ playerId: '36af7c51-0caf-4741-9824-2c941fc6c17b' }).render('4c4d856e0e6f4e3d808bbc1715e132f6'); });

Wiesen, whos in his early 40s, moved to Israel in 2015, but Israel hardly recognized any of his accolades. The easy part was transferring his medical doctor certification, allowing him to work as a family doctor or physician.

However, Wiesen was required to complete a cumbersome observership/acclimation that would essentially be a repeat of his residency in the US. He hasnt completed it yet because of the amount of time it would take.

Its frustrating for a lot of reasons, Wiesen said. Number one it seems sort of random. Number two, why should I, coming from a top institution or even any good institution thats recognized, have to go through a whole new certification process?

Wiesen completed his first observership for internal and pulmonary medicine in three months. Afterwards, he became the director of the cardio-pulmonary exercise test program at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. However, he still needs to do almost a full-year observership in critical care, but he said it isnt financially worth it at this point.

When Wiesen complained that the observership he hasnt done is too long, it was shortened by a month. He felt that was proof the extra month was just bureaucracy at work.

It didnt make any sense, Wiesen said. I spent a year building up this whole practice, specialty, clinic and expertise and then what theyre basically telling me is that Id have to give that entire thing up just because I need to do an acclimation in critical care because they decided for whatever reason that doing a fellowship in the Cleveland Clinic wasnt enough.

It helps that the new government seems focused on this issue. On July 6, prime minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Gideon Saar and MK Abir Kara (Yamina) presented their plan for reducing regulation and bureaucracy in government.

Two components of the plan are to set up a regulatory authority to examine, measure, coordinate and report on regulations, and to audit existing regulations. These have the potential to support olim and make their transitions into Israel easier.

Additionally, in 2019, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked posted Yaminas party platform on Facebook, which stated that they want to promote Jewish immigration to Israel and remove unnecessary barriers to immigration absorption.

Kalfon wants to work with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption and its minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White), as well as the Interior Ministry to advance legislation for olim. He said he feels Tamano-Shata, who is an Ethiopian immigrant, has good intentions for the ministry. Hes also working with organizations like Yad LOlim to help olim navigate Israeli bureaucracy.

Wiesen did mention that Israel could have a legitimate concern about foreign doctors not speaking Hebrew. He said hed be open to legislation requiring immigrants to pass a Hebrew fluency test before practicing in Israel.

Kalfon said that the challenge to passing legislation is getting his fellow MKs on board. Hes concerned that many of them dont consider aliyah and immigration as one of their top priorities. But he felt that prime minister Bennett, who is the son of American immigrants, takes these issues seriously.

Aside from the bureaucracy, some adult olim face a culture shock when making aliyah. Israels mandatory army service has a significant impact on the countrys culture, and immigrants like Wiesen who didnt serve feel left out.

There are a lot of cultural things that I dont understand because I didnt go to the army, Wiesen said. Language issues [are] for sure more pronounced because I never went into that environment where all I [would do] is speak Hebrew quickly [like] my life depended on it for two years.

Even though Kalfon is an advocate of moving to Israel at a young age, Wiesen said the decision of when to make aliyah isnt always clear cut.

I think that everything is a question of balances, priorities, [as well as] pros and cons, Wiesen said. I knew I wanted to go into medicine. My opinion is that its better to train in America, [or] go to school in America because the opportunities that are open to you as an American-trained physician are much better.

Despite wishing they lived in Israel, Kalfon sent his love to Jews who decide to remain in the diaspora.

I, as a religious Jew who believes that Israel is the beginning of the sprouting of the redemption, think that every Jew should live in Israel, Kalfon said. But I wont judge Jews who live outside Israel. Ill embrace them and work so that when they want to come to Israel, theyll have good lives. I prefer [that] people come here out of a desire to be here, not because theyre running from antisemitism.

Here is the original post:

Making aliyah as an adult can be hard. This MK is working to change that - The Jerusalem Post

Related Posts


Comments are closed.

matomo tracker