UAE offers jobs to Israeli doctors seeking to move due to judicial strife — report

Gulf country reportedly pledges salaries three times higher than those in Israel and other benefits to physicians who want to leave

Doctors demonstrate against the judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Doctors demonstrate against the judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Officials from the United Arab Emirates have sought to woo Israeli doctors to move to the Gulf country, a Monday report said, as some medical professionals discuss moving abroad due to the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul.

Thousands of doctors have joined a chat group seeking advice on how to relocate overseas, and some have begun to receive lucrative offers to move to the UAE, Channel 12 reported.

The offers came from official sources in the UAE, as well as Bahrain, which see the turmoil in Israel and the interest in moving abroad as an opportunity, the report said.

The terms of the offers for the UAE include a salary three times higher than the standard in Israel, education opportunities for the physicians’ children and a “golden visa” allowing for long-term residency and other benefits, the report said.

Israeli doctors have expressed great interest in the offers, the report said.

There are also groups of physicians discussing how to move to countries including the US, Portugal, New Zealand and Canada.

The possibility of doctors moving abroad has alarmed Israeli health officials.

Last week, the Health Ministry’s director-general, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, held an emergency meeting with doctors, urging them to not “give up” on Israel’s public health system.

“I know that there are many walking around today with very difficult feelings, and it’s understandable. Instinctive responses to the issue are also understandable. Having said that, everyone also knows that we don’t have another country or health system,” he said.

“I really think that nobody among us has the privilege to give up, not on the country and not on the system. We are the foundation of societal solidarity in Israel and show that it’s possible to live, work and receive care together,” he added.

The WhatsApp chat group for doctors seeking advice on relocating overseas was opened after the Knesset passed a law to limit court oversight of the government last week, and has attracted at least 3,000 physicians.

The Israel Medical Association staged a single-day strike last week, leaving public health facilities with skeleton staffing in response to the passage of the law that ended courts’ ability to strike down cabinet and ministerial decisions based on their “reasonableness.” A labor court ordered the healthcare industry back to work later in the day.

Public health workers have warned that the government’s judicial overhaul proposals will have negative consequences on their profession.

In addition to the turmoil over the government’s judicial policies, the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that Israel is facing an impending shortage of doctors.

The organization in June warned of doctor shortages as early as 2025, pointing out that Israel does not have a proper system in place to manage manpower in the medical profession. The report also called on Israel to increase the number of medical students and accredit an additional new medical school.

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