Too Old For Israel?


The front-page article on older olim, “Older Olim Face Ageism Hurdles” (July 16), was long overdue. The employment problem faced by the over-50s has deterred the relocation/settlement of many potential olim. For example, I am a board-certified, American-educated obstetrician/gynecologist with many years of experience. I speak fluent Hebrew and English. My credentials have been certified by the Israel Ministry of Health and the Specialty Board.  

Although I have made many attempts, with very good networking, to obtain suitable employment, it is clear that 50 or older in Israel is considered too close to 67, the mandatory retirement age there.  

This problem not only affects me personally, but has also contributed significantly to the serious physician shortage now faced by the State. In particular, many of the Russian physicians who moved to Israel a decade or two ago now face unemployment as they approach the magic age of 67, even though they may be able and willing to continue working productively in their profession. Israeli medical schools cannot keep up with the demand for replacements.  

Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Nefesh B’Nefesh’s founder and executive director, has acknowledged the existence of this problem. All efforts so far to get the Knesset to revise the law have been unsuccessful.