Israel has stopped allowing foreign students to pursue an MD degree in Israel. This decision was made after the Council for Higher Education and the Health and Finance Ministries became alarmed by the large number of Israeli students who were leaving their country to practice medicine in Europe. This means international applicants will no longer be admitted to Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine (TAU), Ben-Gurion Faculty of Health Sciences in Beersheba, or the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Haifa. Accordingly, these schools’ graduating classes of 2026 will be the last to include foreign MD students in Israel.
As with most policy decisions, there was discontent expressed with this one. Dr. Stephen Lazar, TAU’s executive dean, explained, “It is with the deepest regret that I must inform you that the Israeli government has directed all foreign medical programs, including American medical programs, to stop accepting new students. Demonstrated successful cooperation of medical institutions in the US, Canada, and Israel were not considered in this political action.”
The path for international medical school applicants has always been fraught with dangers such as alleged deceptive marketing. As such, this hits really hard as Israeli medical schools have always been a more highly recommended option for those US and Canadian applicants who had to look outside their own countries for their MD degrees. While this won’t comfort this year’s cohort, there is a chance that Israel could reverse its decision and reopen its medical schools to international applicants again at some future point.