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Rhodes meet Berlin, and after one generation in Belgium life continues in Israel – Story of Max Daune

The story of Max Daune is a story of the Israeli dream. It’s a story that spans three generations. It’s a story of a man who continued the legacy of his maternal grandparents and built a life for himself in Israel. It’s the story of a man whose success was shaped by the generations that came before him.

Israel was built immigrants , even before it was recognized as the modern state in 1948. This year, it celebrates its 70th year as a liberal democratic country and the home of the Jewish people. Just in time for Israel’s 70th birthday, we focus on this personal story, which could very well be the story of any one of us. Max Daune was born to a Jewish, Israeli mother and a Belgian father. Here is the story on his mother’s side:

Max Daune with his family and grandmother

Daune’s grandmother was born in 1930 in Rhodes, which was a settlement of Italy at the time. The family fled to Israel soon after, as fascism and anti-Semitism began to take hold in Europe.

It was a tumultuous start in the land of Milk and Honey for the Daune family; when they arrived, the English refused to let them dock their boat. In what some might say was the original act of Israeli chutzpah, they decided to burn the boat, leaving the English no choice but to let them ashore.

Daune’s grandmother moved to Haifa and met his grandfather, who was from Berlin. They got married and had two children. But they decided to leave Israel for Belgium in 1958, when Daune’s mother was two years old and her sister (his aunt) was five.

“I don’t remember my grandmother saying anything specific about Israel,” Max tells GV Mag. “However, our whole family is here and there being just a few of us living abroad. Hebrew was (and still is) the language between my grandmother and her daughters. We’d visit Israel at least once a year to see the family.”

Growing up in Belgium, Max says he could feel the anti-Semitism more and more as he grew up. After high school, he decided enough was enough and that he was going to come to Israel. He studied at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) for a semester but went back to Belgium with some minor health problems. That wasn’t it for Israel, though. As soon as he got back to Belgium he had a desire to return to The Land. He studied for his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, graduated in June, and made aliyah that August.

“Besides the anti-Semitism, Zionism and the startup ecosystem were major factors in my decision,” he says, “I wanted to serve in the army. They let me go so I fought the decision, but it didn’t change anything.”

Max was left with no plan – but hope was not lost. He joined Gvahim and quickly found a job at financial company Deloitte Israel. Once he was settled, he founded his own company Powners, gaming company that helps avid gamers get better at their game. He got married one month later.

Now, Max is back at The Hive, Gvahim’s Tel Aviv- and Ashdod-based startup accelerator. The Hive provides entrepreneurial immigrants and returning citizens tools and mentoring to create and develop their startup in Israel in a 5-month immersive program.

“I’d say that if you really want it and are willing to make the effort (to learn Hebrew, integrate with Israelis) than it is totally worth it. But it’s not easy at all,” he says. “You need inner strength and problem-solving skills to overcome the challenges that come with a move like that.

In the end though, “I’ve never regretted coming here, and I feel way more at home than in Belgium!”

by Simona Kogan

Seven Decades of Aliyah, an info-graphic by Samantha Rubinsztejn

7 decades of Aliyah - info-graphic

7 decades of Aliyah - info-graphic2

Poland, Romania, Germany, France and Switzerland – a long way to Israel for Jessica Bloch’s family

Jessica Bloch is all smiles as she narrates her inspirational family story and journey to the Jewish state. The 29-year-old lawyer and social worker, living in Jerusalem, is proud to be among the descendants of bold and wandering Jews who paved her path to enjoy a free and happy life in the Promised Land.

Anti-Semitism forced Jessica’s ancestors to move between Poland, Romania, Germany and France, a short period in the Middle East, France again, and eventually Switzerland – where she was born. Thanks to a solid feeling of overcoming all odds, spiced with a strong Zionist education, the entire family moved one by one to Israel in order to actualize the Israeli anthem’s line, lihiot am chofshi beartzenu [be a free people in our land].

Born in 1909, Jessica’s grandfather, Leiba Arie Smilovici, left his birth country Romania and headed for France in 1928. During World War II, he was arrested and taken to a French labor camp, from which he escaped, and hid in the Dordogne region. Eventually, Leiba joined the Resistance, serving as a doctor.

Jessica's grandparents Leon and Thea, expecting her mother Daphna. Haifa, 1949

Jessica’s grandparents Leon and Thea, expecting her mother Daphna. Haifa, 1949

The conditions faced by her German-born grandmother, Thea Taube Sieradzki, were no easier. Born in 1918 to Polish parents who had left their native land behind, also due to a harsh anti-Semitic atmosphere, she moved with her to France when Hitler became chancellor in 1933. They also survived World War II as hidden Jews in the Dordogne.

When the War came to an end, both the Smilovicis and the Sieradzkis settled in Paris, where Leiba – who became Leon – and Thea met and married in 1947. Less than one year after, and eight months after Israel’s Independence Day, they decided to move to Israel. To get around the blockade, they took a clandestine boat from Marseille. After arriving, Leon enlisted in the Israeli army, traveling across the country to aid in governmental vaccination campaigns for both Jews and Arabs, while Thea lived in the house of her cousins.

“Living conditions were tough,” Jessica tells GVMag. ”They lived on ration tickets. Sometimes, my grandpa could bring her a few eggs or some potatoes that he had bought from his Arab patients.”

When he completed his army service, the couple moved to Haifa, where Leon started to work for the kupat holim [medical plan], and then as a private doctor.

In November of 1949, Jessica’s mother Daphna was born.

“When she was five, she entered a gan yeladim [kindergarten]. But she only spoke French. Thanks to her ganenet [teacher], who had studied French in Paris, she managed to learn Hebrew and make many friends.”

Daphna (middle row, first from right to left) at school. Haifa, 1955

Daphna (middle row, first from right to left) at school. Haifa, 1955

In January 1955, the Smilovici family made a difficult decision: they would move back to France.

“For many reasons: My grandma had her siblings in France, and missed her family a lot. Also, she felt anguished for living surrounded by Arabs, and under the permanent threat of a war. Because she had lived World War II in clandestinity, it was beyond her grasp, although they were very well integrated and had many friends in Israel,” Jessica explained.

After seven years in the Middle East, the Smilovicis resumed their typical French upper-middle class Jewish life in Paris. Jessica’s Israeli-born mother Daphna, who was only six at the time, was enrolled in a regular public school.

“She was first unable to read or write other than in Hebrew!” Jessica says. “She had to learn in a few weeks, and catch up with reading and writing in French. During all her childhood, she felt different from her non-Jewish French friends; she felt a strong nostalgia for Eretz Israel.”

In 1970, at the age of 21, Daphna married a Swiss Jewish man, Ilan Bloch. For 35 years, the couple lived in the small city of Montreux on Lake Geneva, where they had Michael, Karine, and Jessica. Her maternal grandparents, Leon and Thea, eventually joined the children and grandchildren in the neighboring country. Despite the small number of Jews, the children received a solid Jewish, and Zionist, education. In 2002, when Jessica was 13, they moved to Geneva.

Her brother Michael and family were the first to make aliyah in 2010. In 2014, she spent the summer in Jerusalem, as a student intern at a lawyer’s office. Despite the war in Gaza, she decided to make aliyah, and told her parents of her plans. Three weeks later – believe it or not – they, too, announced they would be following suit, and in February 2015, they also arrived in Israel. In July, Jessica’s sister Karine and family took the same path, and became Israeli citizens.

Swiss-French-Israeli polyglot, Jessica Bloch, well represents Gvahim’s multicultural spirit. And what’s more, as a social worker with experience in leading and guiding therapeutic groups from different cultures and audiences, she crowns her ancestors’ Zionism with Jewish pride and tikun olam [repair of the world].

By Marcus Gilban
Gvahim Alumnus, journalist and contributing editor of GV MAG

From Poland to Mexico, a baker’s story – Juan Taifeld’s three generation family tale

Juan Taifeld is as Mexican as tacos and tequila, but deep in his corazón, he always knew he’d move to Israel. What Juan didn’t know was that one day, he’d head a nonprofit organization devoted to helping highly skilled professionals like himself land choice jobs in the Jewish state.
In early December, he replaced Gali Shahar—now a consultant at the Rashi Foundation—as CEO of Gvahim.

Juan’s grandfather, Pinkus Taifeld, left Poland in 1937 with his wife, Bronia, just two years before the outbreak of World War II.
“He predicted that something bad was going to happen in Europe,” Juan told me last week during an interview at Gvahim’s Tel Aviv headquarters. “Hitler had been in power since 1933, and my grandfather saw the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping Europe. He understood that in order to survive, he had to leave Poland as soon as possible.”

Juan Taifeld’s grandparents, Bronia and Pinkus Taifeld, in Mexico City shortly after arriving from Poland in 1937

Juan Taifeld’s grandparents, Bronia and Pinkus Taifeld, in Mexico City shortly after arriving from Poland in 1937

But the British, who then ruled Palestine, denied Pinkus Taifeld’s multiple visa applications. So Pinkus, a baker, decided he’d go to Mexico—where an older sister was already living —and from there to the United States. Traveling directly there was out of the question because back in 1937, U.S. immigration quotas were very strict.

The young couple sailed across the Atlantic, ending up in the bustling port of Veracruz. From there, they went overland to Mexico City, where Pinkus established a small grocery at Calle Allende 77, in the city’s downtown district.
“Eventually, he bought a 400-sq-meter plot of land in Colonia Del Valle and opened a bakery,” said Juan. “On the first floor of the bakery, he built his house. I was born in that house.”

Juan Taifeld’s father, Moisés Taifeld, waves from the family bakery’s delivery truck in Mexico City, late 1940s

Juan Taifeld’s father, Moisés Taifeld, waves from the family bakery’s delivery truck in Mexico City, late 1940s

Like his father before him, Juan’s father, Moisés, was raised in a strictly Zionist family. In Mexico City—which was already home to a large, flourishing Jewish community—he attended a Jewish school, got married and had six children. In the late ‘60s, Moisés Taifeld decided it was time to make aliyah.
“So in August 1970, my father arrived in Israel and settled at Kibbutz Agoshrim, in the Huleh Valley. But the culture shock was too much for him,” Juan told me. “He tried to find work in Nazeret Illit, but he didn’t have a network of family or friends and had no idea who to call or how to do it. So in December—after only four months—he decided to go back to Mexico City. Two weeks later, I was born.”
Juan grew up in a Zionist youth movement known as Hechalutz L’Merhav. After high school, he came to Israel for a “gap year,” staying four months in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot Mizrach as part of Machon L’Madrichei Hul. He then spent six months at Kibbutz Ne’ot Mordehai, not far from his father’s old kibbutz.
“That year was very significant for me, because it was then that I understood that I would be the generation that would come to Israel — not like my grandfather, who was not successful, and not like my father, who came and then decided to return to Mexico,” he said. “I was going to be the one who made a positive change. And I knew from the beginning that I’d succeed.”
Juan did, in fact, make aliyah in June 1991. The 46-year-old executive has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Tel Aviv University, a master’s degree in management and educational leadership from that same institution, and a second master’s in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

From 2001 to 2005, Juan was the Jewish Agency’s emissary to Mexico, then spent seven years with the nonprofit Hanoar Hatzionit youth movement, boosting its annual operating revenues from NIS 800,000 in 2005 to NIS 12.5 million when he left in 2012.
He also worked at the commercial office of the Spanish Embassy in Tel Aviv, and headed the Jewish Agency’s northern Latin America operations, which included not only Mexico but also Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala and Venezuela.
That extensive background gave Juan a big advantage in his new position, for which he was selected among a pool of more than 700 applicants.
“One of the main barriers immigrants have in Israel is the lack of networking and difficulties with language and culture. They feel very frustrated,” he said. “Every year, roughly 30,000 people come to Israel, and 10,000 of them have academic degrees. After three years, 30 percent of those with degrees end up going back to their native countries—mainly because they couldn’t find the right job adapted to their skills.”

Gvahim, which means “heights” in Hebrew, aims to help olim realize their professional skills and land quality jobs. The program, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, also encourages new immigrants to set up their own businesses through one of its accelerator programs, TheHive, or its new sister program, TheNest.
Roughly 40% of Gvahim’s participants come from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries. Another 38% are French, while 17% come from Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics.
To date, Gvahim has helped 3,000 new immigrants from 60 countries of origin; it boasts a 91% success rate in the career program—meaning that nine out of 10 alumni find jobs in their professions within 12 months of arrival. Startups established through TheHive have raised $20 million in capital, while TheNest has created 250 jobs.
“Employment is the most important issue people who want to immigrate have to deal with,” Juan said. “We help those immigrants and returning citizens with academic degrees by giving them all the necessary tools to start their professional journey in Israel.”

Gvahim and its 20 employees operate on a budget of NIS 7.5 million (about $2.1 million) per year. During 2018, Juan says he’d like to bring in the Israeli government as a partner to boost Gvahim’s capabilities. He also hopes to create a “Friends of Gvahim” fundraising association with an office somewhere in the United States—possibly New York.

Juan Taifeld, second form right, at the opening session of the GV 60 Career Program

Juan Taifeld, second form right, at the opening session of the GV 60 Career Program

“We need to let people in Israel and Jewish communities overseas know more about the work we’re doing,” he said. “That’s also one of the advantages I have coming from the Jewish Agency, where I have a very good relationship with people there who are relevant to our work.”
Last year, Israel received about 29,000 new immigrants, with the largest numbers coming from Russia, Ukraine, France, the United States, Great Britain and Brazil. During the first half of 2017, immigration from Russia increased by 13% compared to the year-ago period, from economically troubled Brazil by 29%—and from politically paralyzed Venezuela by an astonishing 142%.
“Throughout Israel’s history, Zionism was always a minor part of migration,” said Juan, whose wife, Lucia, is from Slovakia. “Most people came here to find better opportunities, and some are escaping political regimes.”

Like most Israelis, Juan plans to spend Israel’s 70th anniversary at home—in this case Binyamina—enjoying a barbeque and watching the Air Force perform acrobatics in the sky.
“For me,” he said, “Israel is still a miracle, where we pay a very high price for the right to have our homeland after 2,000 years.”

By Larry Luxner

Finally in Israel, via Russia, Poland, Costa Rica and Bolivia – Patricia Mikowski-Kahn

Making Aliyah has always been a big part of the DNA in my family. Israel has been the focus of many of our family’s dinner conversations, our travel plans, and the hopes for our future. L’Shana Haba’a B’Yerushalaim had a special resonance in our family’s Passover Seder.

Circa 1964 - great grandfather Liber Opfer and Patricia's mother, Cyra Hun in Israel

Circa 1964 – great grandfather Liber Opfer and Patricia’s mother, Cyra Hun in Israel

My family’s ties to Israel go back three generations. My grandparents (all four of them) found themselves in Nazi Europe and had to do everything in their power to flee. My dad’s parents were lucky and found passage to Costa Rica during the mid- 1930’s, where they settled and started a family. My dad was born in Costa Rica in 1941. My mother’s parents and maternal grandparents had to flee through the Russian border from Poland (leaving my grandfather’s entire family behind to a terrible fate at the hands of the Nazi regime), where they survived by being moved around between prison camps in Siberia and then in Uzbekistan. My mom was born in one of these camps in 1944.
As soon as the war ended, my mom’s family began searching for a new place to call home. My maternal great-grandparents moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1946. However, my mother’s parents found their way to Bolivia, where they tried to settle and start anew.
My grandfather had to make the difficult choice between Palestine and Bolivia. At the time, he believed that he had better chances of locating any surviving family members while living in South America, and so they moved to La Paz. Despite his choice, he was a true Zionist at heart and became very involved with the local Jewish community.

In time, both my mom and dad were pushed individually by their families to move to Israel as soon as their high- school was completed. Thus, they ended up meeting serendipitously at the Technion in Haifa in the mid-1960s. Both young and alone – two Spanish speakers in a Hebrew-speaking land and made – who made a lifelong connection.
My older brother was born in Haifa in 1966. My parents and my brother continued their lives in Israel until the Six-Day War and a subsequent challenging personal period forced them to reconsider a life in Costa Rica. As I was told endless times, my parents made a deal with each other: they were to “return to Costa Rica for a few years, to allow for better job opportunities and a more stable income for the family. Then, after they were able to save some money and become more independent, they were to return home to Israel.”
Sadly, that was never to be the case for my parents. They remained in Costa Rica where I was born a few years later, and then my younger brother came to complete our little Zionist family.
Meanwhile, my mother’s parents did make a successful Aliyah from Bolivia, after realizing that living in La Paz as Jews was just more of the same, and that they would never feel entirely safe or free until they lived in Israel. My grandparents arrived in Israel in the early 1970s, where they lived the rest of their lives in their home in Tel Aviv.

Early 1960' - Patricia's parents at the Technion Haifa

Early 1960′ – Patricia’s parents at the Technion Haifa

When I turned 12 I became obsessed with the idea of making Aliyah. I did not know when or how exactly, but I knew deep in my bones that my future and my happiness were to be forever tied to this country and its people. I had an initial, failed attempt at making Aliyah in 1990, when I proved too young to endure this new lifestyle all on my own.
My second and final (and successful) attempt was in November 1995, right on the heels of the murder of Itzhak Rabin Z”L. I remember the mixture of incredible sadness, loss and regret I felt while walking around Tel Aviv on the day of my arrival and experiencing the aftermath of that terrible act, which had taken place only a few days before.
However, there were other feelings filling my heart that day – a deep sense of realization, of true purpose – I had finally arrived home and to my people! I still get emotional when I remember the immeasurable of love and compassion I felt amid all the sadness, the helplessness and the anguish of the times; I was – for better or worse – where I belonged.

I will always remember the 15th of November 1995 as the day when I came full circle with my destiny, a destiny that began with my grandparents’ Zionist ideas and yearnings of creating a life for themselves and their family in Israel, some 50 years before.


Written by: Patricia Mikowski-Kahn

Enrôlement des médecins : que retenir de la réforme ?

Update du 11/04/2018: suite à une nouvelle demande conjointe de Nefesh B’Nefesh de Gvahim et de la comission de la Aliyah de la Knesset, l’armée a reprecisé certains points repris dans cette nouvelle édition (surlignés en jaune). Nous pouvons nous féliciter des dernières avancées qui limitent finalement à 2 mois de plus la durée de service militaire pour un jeune homme médecin réalisant sa Aliyah après 27 ans.


Le 10 Janvier 2018,  une table ronde s’est tenue dans les bureaux du General Eran Shany, responsable de la planification des RH au sein de l”Etat Major de Tsahal. Etaient également presents des représentants de l’enrôlement et du corps médical de l’armée, le Ministère de l’Alyah et de l’intégration, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Qualita et le programme Olim Medical de Gvahim.

Selon l’armée, le besoin de changer les conditions d’enrôlement pour les dentistes et médecins découle du manque important de ces professions dans les rangs  de Tsahal. Aujourd’hui, dans certaines bases, les soldats encourent un certain risque en étant obligés de faire plusieurs km ou attendre plusieurs jours pour pouvoir bénéficier d’une consultation médicale.

A coté de cela, Tsahal voit dans le service militaire des médecins immigrants en Israel une opportunité d’intégration dans la société Israélienne ainsi que dans le système de santé Israélien. Lors de la réunion, le corps militaire a d’ailleurs rappelé que le salaire est celui d’un médecin militaire officier ayant signé un contrat avec l’armée (KEVA) dès le premier jour du service et non celui d’un soldat en service obligatoire (H’OVA) alors même que les olims sont en situation de service « obligatoire ».

Cela dit, l’Alyah de dizaines de médecins chaque année profite à l’ensemble du système de santé israélien, d’où la nécessité d’une concertation dans la durée entre les représentants de chacun des acteurs concernés.

Les autorités militaires ont donc décidé pour le moment que les mesures suivantes entreront en vigueur le 1e Juillet 2018 pour les medecins olims et dentistes olims:

  • L’âge limite d’enrôlement ne sera relevé que d’une année (et non deux comme voulu au départ). Les médecins Olim devront donc servir jusqu’à 33 ans révolus (34e anniversaire) pour les hommes et 28 ans révolus pour les femmes sans enfants (29e anniversaire) [une femme avec enfants sera a priori exemptée mais elle pourra se porter volontaire]. L’âge pris en compte sera celui de la date de l’entrée dans les effectifs de l’armée.
  • L’Etat-Major demande au Corps Médical de l’armée de tenir compte des besoins et nécessités particulières des Olim lors de leur affectation et ce notamment pour les médecins mariés avec enfants et d’éviter ainsi de les affecter dans des bases en ligne de front.
  • La durée du service est relevé à 24 mois (au lieu de 18 mois), sauf cas particuliers suivants: un médecin homme qui fera sa Aliyah après 27 ans devra servir 20 mois, une femme qui fera sa Aliyah après 27 ans servira 18 mois. L’objectif est de mieux préparer les médecins et de leur proposer une rotation de postes pour pouvoir également être en mesure de juger de leur aptitude à progresser au sein de l’armée et éventuellement obtenir un financement pour une spécialisation ensuite.

Ces mesure ne sont pas rétroactives et ne s’appliquerons pas aux médecins/dentistes ayant ouvert un dossier à l’Agence Juive avant le 1/07/2018. Cette réforme sera testée en tant que « pilote » sur les deux prochaines années et une discussion sera à nouveau engagée en Juillet 2020, en fonction de l’impact réel effectivité de ce changement.

Enfin, lors de notre dernier article sur le sujet, nous indiquions que nous n’avions encore aucune garantie sur la prise en compte de la spécialité médicale ou de l’internat en cours des olims. Nous discutons encore de ce sujet avec Tsahal qui recherche principalement en urgence des médecins généralistes ayant simplement un M.D. (Diplôme de fin de second cycle) et n’a pas l’habitude de recruter des spécialistes déjà formés. Il faut a ce stade entrer en negociation avec eux au cas par cas.

Dans les prochaines semaines nous organiserons des rencontres à ce sujet et répondons déjà aux sollicitations individuelles des médecins qui souhaitent en savoir plus. Ceux qui ont dépassé l’âge peuvent quand même se renseigner et postuler. Un groupe de médecins francophones réservistes s’organise également et peuvent répondre à d’autres types de besoins. Pour plus d’information ou pour prendre conseil sur votre situation personnelle n’hésitez pas à nous contacter : olimmedical@gvahim.org.il

Inscriptions au séminaire Olim Medial pour médecins olims

Nous avons le plaisir d’annoncer le lancement du Séminaire Olim Medial, le premier programme de carrière de Gvahim adapté aux médecins olims !

3 Jours de formations au système de santé et rencontres pour médecins olims, une premiere !

L’objectif est de préparer les médecins nouveaux immigrants ou futurs olim hadashim a leur recherche d’emploi à travers ;

  • une série de conferences de découverte  du système de santé israélien,
  • des visites de structures medicales,
  • des rencontres avec différents acteurs, partenaires et employeurs,
  • des simulations d’entretiens d’embauche,
  • des rencontres avec d’anciens olims francophones.

Les participants qui le souhaiterons se verront créer une fiche participant qui sera envoyée aux différents partenaires. Ces derniers pourront ainsi demander à rencontrer de manière individuelle les candidats. Autant de clés destinées à faciliter le contact avec les employeurs. Ces séminaires sont ouverts aux adhérents d’Olim Medical et seront organisés plusieurs fois par an en function de la demande.

Des thèmes propres à différentes populations concernées seront abordés. Ainsi, la première promotion qui se déroulera du 25 au 27 mars, s’adresse principalement aux jeunes diplomés ainsi qu’aux étudiants et internes, concernés par la poursuite d’une spécialité/sur-spécialité en Israel ou l’enrôlement a l’armée.

Restez-connectés ! Nous vous tiendrons informés des intervenants et thématiques abordées dans les prochains jours via notre groupe Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/olimmedical/

Pré-inscription obligatoire dès aujourd’hui afin de nous permettre de confirmer/affiner le programme sur le lien suivant : https://goo.gl/forms/gHkpXH3NfNFc8Uq62

Reconnaissance de la spécialité des médecins généralistes de France en Israel: vers une nouvelle simplification ?

Rdv de travail d’OlimMedical dans les locaux de l’Association Medicale Israelienne à Ramat Gan.

Oren Mizrahi et Yonathan Rubinstein du programme Olim Medical ont rencontré mardi 2 Janvier 2018 le Conseil Scientifique de l’Association Medicale Israélienne (IMA) afin de présenter le fruit de plusieurs mois de recherches pour la reconnaissance des médecins généralistes de France en tant que spécialistes en médecine de famille en Israël.

Le conseil scientifique a apprécié les traductions et comparaisons des syllabus, la présentation des procédures de reconnaissance du Conseil de l’Ordre en France, un récapitulatif de l’évolution de la formation en médecine générale depuis les années 70 jusqu’à la création de l’internat de spécialisation en médecine générale dans les années 2000. Au regard de cet exposé et des nouveaux éléments apportés, la directrice du conseil scientifique, Dana Fishbain, a déclaré que réunir spécialement les spécialistes siégeant au sein de cette organisation pour étudier à nouveau la question n’était plus simplement une possibilité mais un devoir.

Update du 14/02/2018: La commission de l’IMA se reunira a ce sujet mi-Avril. Les médecins generalistes concernés, qui ont un dossier en cours, sont donc priés de patienter encore quelques semaines avant de recevoir une une réponse les concernants. N’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cas de question.


Le role du Conseil Scientifique de l’IMA

L’IMA est notamment mandatée par le ministère de la santé pour définir les parcours et contenus des formations des spécialités médicales et donne un avis pour l’octroi des diplômes de spécialistes en Israel. Cette organisation est donc naturellement chargée d’étudier les demandes d’équivalences de médecins immigrants en Israel.

Au moment de la rencontre, la commission des spécialistes en médecine de famille du conseil scientifique de l’IMA distingue les demandes faites par des généralistes diplômés avant la création de la spécialité en médecine générale en France, des spécialistes en médecine générale diplômés depuis 2007. Alors que ces derniers ont une période d’adaptation variant entre 3 et 12 mois, les plus expérimentés doivent également faire reconnaitre leur titre de spécialiste par une commission de qualification du Conseil de l’Ordre des médecins en France, compléter une année d’internat et réussir un examen oral. Les médecins qui ne sont pas reconnus spécialistes, peuvent tout de meme exercer en tant que médecins généraux (sans spécialité) avec une licence de Rofe Clali octroyée par le ministère de la santé.

Un enjeu majeur apour les médecins généralistes de France en Israel

Cette évolution est très attendue dans la mesure où elle simplifierait l’accès à l’emploi de plusieurs dizaines de médecins de France alors que les 4 caisses d’assurances santé israéliennes cherchent toutes à recruter des spécialistes en médecine de première nécessité (médecins de famille, pédiatre et gynécologues notamment). Plus de 40% des généralistes en Israel ont plus de 60 ans et les prévisions de l’OCDE sont assez pessimistes quant au nombre de médecins par habitant en Israel. Dans ce contexte, la simplification des démarches d’équivalences semble être une réelle opportunité pour le système de santé et une chance à saisir.

L’objectif de ces travaux est donc d’apporter un maximum de preuves et de données pour que l’administration israélienne puisse donner un fondement cohérent et légal à une simplification de l’octroi du titre de spécialistes aux nombreux médecins concernés.

Si vous avez des éléments pouvant contribuer au dossier n’hésitez pas à les transférer à l’adresse mail olimmedical@gvahim.org.il ou a nous écrire sur le groupe facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/olimmedical/

Nous vous tiendrons informés des avancées dans les prochains jours.

Aiming for the top – The top 10 Companies That Hired Gvahim Alumni in 2017

by Simona Shemer

One of the toughest problems facing new immigrants who arrive to Israel is trying to find a job in an industry they enjoy or had experience in, in their country of origin. Maybe you’ve seen this happen – an immigrant from South Africa or Denmark or America or Brazil comes to Israel with a biology degree or a background in biological sciences and ends up working in a call center because, for one reason or another, he or she couldn’t find a job in their field.

Gvahim helps new immigrants with professional qualifications and strong work experience find a place in the Israeli market and guides those olim transition into a suitable career through programs that are career-focused, highlighting entrepreneurship, or assisting for the medical professions.

If you take a look at the list of 10 companies below, you will see that the highly-skilled olim are finding the jobs and the programs are succeeding. These companies all boast high numbers of Gvahim graduates in their employee roster. These companies have worked with Gvahim through Gvahim’s programs to find qualified candidates who will add skills, experience, and an international element to their firms. The placements become mutually beneficial for both employee and employer as the employee finds meaningful work and the employer adds a highly professional candidate with a diverse background to his company. This employee will likely be able to communicate with the company’s target audience, which are usually located outside of Israel.

Gvahim reports that if an immigrant in Israel cannot find meaningful employment within 2-3 years, he or she is likely to leave the country. They want to ensure this doesn’t happen and with the help of 91% success rate in finding employment for their candidates, they are well on their way.

The companies below represent the best of the best – firms that have hired in 2017 the most international, highly qualified candidates, thanks to Gvahim:

1. FRE Skincare – https://www.freskincare.com/

FRÉ is a skincare line that specializes in getting rid of workout-induced skin damage and signs of aging that come from the combination of sweat, intense exercise, the sun and pollution. Its founders, Michael Azouley and Mickael Bensadoun, both olim, hold Gvahim in a special place in their hearts for very significant reasons. After Azoulay made aliyah in 2000, he worked as an entrepreneur and later met Bensadoun. The two created their successful skincare range based on a moment at Tel Baruch beach where a girl sweating while running helped them decide to make a skin care line that affects the way skin reacts to sweat.

Bensadoun had his own career outside of the skincare line, serving as a Director of Special Projects at the Rashi Foundation. He eventually became a co-founder and Executive Director of Gvahim when he founded the organization along with Yair Shamir and other leading Israeli businessmen and women as a Rashi project in 2006. Azoulay, for his part, mentors participants of The Nest by Gvahim, a 10-week business accelerator for new immigrants. “If Gvahim had existed when I came to Israel, maybe I would have had a different career with more opportunities,” he told Gvahim magazine for the Rosh Hashana issue.

2. Check Point – https://www.checkpoint.com/

Why is Check Point Software, the Israeli multinational provider of software, on Gvahim’s Top 10 list? As Moscow-born professional Nina Verzhbolovich, the head of New Business Development for Russia and CIS at Check Point puts it, “It’s a worldwide leader in the cybersecurity industry. Check Point needs internationals with their insights, experiences, languages and knowledge. Being part of a high-tech company, you don’t need to be fluent in Hebrew, your experience and personal skills are more valuable here.” While Verzhbolovich did not get the Check Point job directly through Gvahim, she did take part in a Career Program, which she says is the reason she got at least 10 interviews while she was looking for her next position. Her advice? Take everything you can out of the experience – literally! “I took everything that was on the table at Gvahim – collected business cards of all the lecturers, connected to people on LinkedIn, called to my amazing HR mentor after hours and met cool people from all over the world.”

3. BDM Ltd – http://bdm.co.il/

BDM is an international health care billing and recovery firm which acts as an extension to the provider’s business office, billing international travel insurance companies, and patients who have received care. While the company is located in Israel, it deals with the American insurance and healthcare in a multilingual and multicultural way, making it the perfect opportunity to hire qualified and professional Gvahim alumni.

4. CrediFi Content Co. – https://www.credifi.com/

Rena Lev, a Senior Product Analyst at commercial real estate finance big data platform CredFi says the best part of doing Gvahim was the connection she made. Lev, an olah from Baltimore who did the Career Program with her husband, said both of them had fields that were similar enough that each person’s mentor helped the other. She definitely thinks her career program was a stepping stone to creating a great resume and understanding the Israeli market. The Hashmonaim resident can also understand why CrediFi is on the list of top 10 companies who have hired Gvahim candidates. “It’s a product directly oriented to customers in the US so speaking English and having an international background helps,” she says. “There is an overall friendly feeling in the company. The company is family friendly and I think this goes hand in hand with being a company that is olim friendly. The company understands that olim don’t have the same support system as the regular sabre.”

5. Matrix – http://www.matrix.co.il/en/about/Pages/default.aspx

Matrix is the leading IT company in Israel, according to research reports of the Israeli IT market published by the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) and STKI, the leading market research and strategic analyst firm in Israel. The company develops and implements leading technologies, software solutions, and products, while also providing various services. Matrix is an international company with several Gvahim alumni scattered among the team.

6. Signals Analytics – https://signals-analytics.com/

Signals Analytics is the story of two Israeli military intelligence officers who had experience utilizing open source and human intelligence enable cover operations in the Israel Defense Forces and then realized they could use those same concepts and technologies in the boardroom. Today, the company has 150 employees in New York, Geneva, Switzerland, and Tel Aviv. While a company founded by Israelis, Signals Analytics has become an international environment with employees from around the world. Two of the company’s Marketing Managers have been alumni of Gvahim. Also, one look at this company’s client list will make you understand why it is definitely suitable for someone coming from Gvahim – clients include international names like P&G, Nestle, Johnsons & Johnson and much more.

7. Wix – https://www.wix.com/

Besides being one of the most popular platforms in the world for website creation, Wix boasts a high-end quality group of international employees. The company, which has also done videos, blogs, podcasts, and more to promote their brand, has also worked closely with The Hive, Gvahim’s accelerator for immigrant entrepreneurs and partnered with Gvahim to take part in The Nest, offering their mentorship and community support to olim who were interested in starting their own business. Adding her skills to the team is Noemi Levy, the company’s Spanish Content and Social Media Manager, hailing from Spain. Levy loved the experience of meeting other olim from different countries around the world. She put what she learned in Gvahim to good use for the future task of interviewing at Wix, an arduous process that took 2 months! After experiencing it firsthand, she can understand why Wix could be the right job for a Gvahim alum. “Wix is considered one of the Israeli high tech unicorns, so I guess it’s on everyone’s wish list. They operate worldwide and need people that know not only a language, but a culture, with some professional background in that country’s markets.”
“There’s a lot of international people working at Wix and it’s a very oleh-friendly company,” Levy continues. “I believe that this, together with the fact that it’s a solid company, is a big reason for internationals to want to get on board.”

8. Amdocs – https://www.amdocs.com/

Is Amdocs Gvahim’s biggest success story? Yes, according to the Gvahim team who report that more than 20 Gvahim alumni have worked at Amdocs. They even go as far as to say that once the Amdocs strategy unit was comprised of Gvahim alumni. Finally, Gvahim’s most celebrated mentor is an Amdocs manager. While also based in Israel, Amdocs is a multinational company specializing in software and services for communications, media, and financial service providers and digital enterprises.

9. Cornerstone – https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/

Cornerstone OnDemand help organizations recruit, train and manage their people. It is a global provider of cloud-based talent management software solutions with about 25 million users across 191 countries. Cornerstone has one very special person on staff at their company that once also had an important job at Gvahim. Merav Ben-Ari, now an Associate Talent Partner at Cornerstone, was once in charge of matching olim participating in Gvahim with mentors from companies and jobs similar to what those olim wanted to do. Other Gvahim alumni have also received jobs at Cornerstone.

10. Sweet Inn – https://www.sweetinn.com/

Ronen Serfati, a sales associate at Sweet Inn, a global hospitality company offering stylish holiday apartments for rent, was once involved in Gvahim’s The Nest accelerator program for small businesses. Sweet Inn is certainly a company that needs internationals working for her as they offer luxury apartments in spots that give you the cultural flavor of the city, throughout popular cities in Europe and Israel. In this case, it would help if a salesperson for this company was international as they could naturally sell the benefits and culture of their own country.



A Farewell By Gali Shahar-Efrat

Dear Gvahim Community,
After three challenging and exciting years as CEO of Gvahim, I have decided to change my professional direction. As such, I recently turned over the helm to my successor, Juan Taifeld. I am very pleased that so much was accomplished during my term, and am certain that Juan will guide the organization to new heights, as per the meaning of the Hebrew word Gvahim.
Gvahim offers career development programs for new immigrants, tailored to Israel’s human resources needs. This enables skilled new Olim to integrate and excel in the Israeli professional arena, and to enhance the country’s human capital with the wide perspective needed in today’s global economy.
Two of our more recent programs that help counter acute personnel shortages are the Olim Medical program (the first pre-aliyah program for French Jewish health professionals) and the Career Program for Hi-tech Engineers.
During the past three years, the percentage of employment amongst highly skilled Olim who trained in our programs rose above 90% in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a strong foundation upon which Gvahim will build in the coming years.
I want to thank the exceptional Gvahim team of highly dedicated and challenge-loving individuals. I look forward to serving Gvahim in my new capacity as board member, and wish Juan, the team, and “our” Olim the greatest success.
With my warmest gratitude and regards to you – our friends and supporters,
Gali Shahar-Efrat

PIONEERING SUSTAINABLE FASHION – Daniella Zarkon, Alumna of TheHive Tel Aviv #7

by Juliette Rech, intern at TheHive

The Most inappropriate person for the job

When the idea of creating a startup came to Daniella Zarkon, young olah from the United States, she was probably the most unsuitable person for the job: 26 years old, just graduated, woman. No matter the statistics, being a newcomer allays all mental barriers erected by stereotypes about entrepreneurship. « You have the confidence by knowing that you have already made the biggest step by leaving your home and coming here. ». In for a penny, in for a pound: with her degree in environmental studies in hand, Daniella pitched her project to TheHive 7th screening committee. A project which the most practical expression was then a sheet of paper. The board, drawn from Israeli business lords and TheHive staff, didn’t disguise its scepticism. God knows how she managed to convince them that if her « company » was barely at the idea stage, it would further increase the added value of the incubator. Five months later, she came out from TheHive with a solid business plan and a fully working online marketplace enabling ethical and sustainable fashion brands to sell their products to like-minded customers.

Entrepreneurship is more than starting a business  

The company is called « Marrakesh » after the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, birthplace of the World Trade Organization, whose purpose is to achieve greater equity and transparency in global trade. « When I made Alyiah from the United States, I already knew that I want to create a sustainable company, but I wasn’t sure of which sector. I realized that fashion industry is the most polluant industry after oil, about 20 % of world water pollution. I realized that if I focus on fashion industry I could have a really big impact. ». From day one, Marrakesh stems from the conviction that the only real solution to global warming is economic. And even more. By listening to Daniella, Entrepreneurship seems to be the breeding ground for many achievements. While Marrakesh targets the American market, Daniella chose to incorporate it in Israel after considering how the positive spin-offs of her business would be distributed in the two societies : « You have to work really really hard to start a company. At the end of the day you are still active. I don’t remember how much money goes to the social welfare system but I know the money is going to benefit everyone in the (Israeli) society whereas in the States, my money will go to the top 1% of the population. I want to give back to the homeland as well. » Business is finally almost a pretext, something which ties many forms of idealism, fed by the common genes between immigration and the entrepreneurial streak: « Entrepreneur doesn’t always mean starting a new business. It means to me an adventurer, somebody who leaves the comfort of his own home. I think that Israel is unique because it is made up of so many olim. The whole country was basically founded by entrepreneurs. Either that means starting up a kibbutz in the south or starting a high-tech company in the center. ».

Tackling the successful entrepreneur « type »

26 years old, woman and just graduated: very discouraging data, regarding the average profile of successful entrepreneurs. Though she was at first sight the most inappropriate person for starting and running a company, Daniella won the Final Pitch of TheHive 7th. A committed business, as a tool for achieving sustainable, social and integration goals at the same time, was the strongest foundation she could provide for her company. By doing so, this young newcomer lies in the continuity of the pioneering ideal.

10 TIPS for olim in the medical professions

by Oren Mizrahi, Director of Olim Medical by Gvahim

1. Choose a coach or a program like Olim Medical to get prepared for interviews. Even if you were an independent worker before Aliyah the probability to work for your own local business is quite small at least in the beginning few months. You will quickly learn that achieving an interview successfully is not trivial and that Israeli HMOs are quite afraid of hiring someone who didn’t work with a hierarchical organization for many years.  
2. Be sure that your CV is 100% adapted to the Israeli standards. According to alljobs.com, an Israeli job board website, 80% of the employers are spending less than a minute to check a CV. You will certainly not have a second chance to prove that you are in the process of truly integrating in the Israeli society if your CV is not clear enough.
3. Get connected to professional networks. More than 75% of the recruitment in Israel are following cooptation formal/informal process.
4. Have in mind that the healthcare market is very small in Israel. l and all the stakeholders are connected. You should pay attention to each contact, each event and meetup you are participating and each Interview you are doing. Everyone is recruiting you a little bit even those who are only potential patients.
5. Initiate your diploma recognition process before Aliyah; it will help you to anticipate your “Alyah Case” and the budget you need before finding a stable position. Moreover, if you will apply a few months before Aliyah, when you show your official recognition documents to a potential employer, it will be substantial proof of your motivation.
6. Don’t ask your Israeli aunt to translate your documents. Choose a notary recommended by a professional from the same profession and speciality that already passed successfully the equivalences process. Do not forget to keep the original versions with you; send only the copies and the notary’s translated versions and keep a scan of everything.
7. Stay updated with the equivalence processes, rules for army enrolment, markets demands. The relevant info applicable when your former colleague made Aliyah might not be relevant today.
8. Assess your opportunities in the North or South of Israel: Many organizations are seeking for specialists in cities you didn’t think about. Remember that Israel is a small country. Choosing a place to work according to the impact of your contribution to the “local” economy could bring you more opportunities to (re)start a significant career in Israel.
9. A good Hebrew is the main key to success. You should begin an ulpan before Aliyah! Ask your Jewish Agency / NefeshBNefesh local desk for information and find the right solution according to your level and availabilities. Do not wait for the first days in Israel to seriously learn Hebrew.
10. If you are student, make sure to ask for some advice in Israel before choosing a residency speciality because in some few cases the recognition might be complicated.

How can Olim Medical help you?
Olim Medical is a unique and tailor made program for medical professionals wishing to make Aliyah. It provides an answer to the critical lack of skilled human capital in the healthcare sector in Israel by facilitating Aliyah and access to open positions all over Israel.
We receive a new request every 1.5 days in average. 600 persons contacted us and almost 400 physicians have already been assisted in their Aliyah process, mainly from France.
Program components:
• Information conferences, trainings, study-trips and visits
• Effective assistance with degree recognition/the licensing process (pre and post-Aliyah) process by Israeli authorities
• Liaison with the Israeli administration and professional organization
• Placement support: guidance and HR consulting for finding a suitable job
• Mentorship & networking opportunities
• Access and introductions to our developed partnerships and working relationships with all the major hospitals and HSOs in Israel.

Olim Medical program is generously funded by The Adelis Foundation.
Program commitment fee: 450 NIS
Program real costs: about 3.300 NIS/participant

Why is it for French physicians only?
Because we do believe that each program member deserves a tailored service, adapted to his very specific case and taking in consideration the rules applicable for the country of origin. We are planning to progressively open the program to other regions and medical professions but can only be possible with important investments and research efforts to ensure a real qualitative service.
We will be happy to count you as a donor of our program (click here for more info).

Contact us: OlimMedical@gvahim.org.il

FROM OLA TO CEO IN ONE YEAR – Valerie Kaliski, Alumna of Career Program #52

by Marcus Gilban, journalist, Alum of Career Program #50

One year after her aliyah, French immigrant Valérie Kaliski, 41, has stepped into the role of CEO for Crediplace, “one of the world’s most disruptive start-ups in the finance sector,” as she describes. Her seventeen-year career working with international business development is back on track, crowning months of studies and networking in the Jewish state. Gvahim has had a pivotal role, she said.

Creditplace was founded by a group of Israeli senior economists and analysts. Why did they choose an olah chadashah to lead their company?
They were looking for a candidate with a strong international experience in finance. I was shortlisted with Israeli candidates from all over the world. I believe I was chosen due to a mix of reasons including education and professional experience, competencies, personal background and a bit of luck, of course. I wanted to be part of Israel’s success story. We left everything behind and decided to settle here, this is why I often picture us as pioneers. Telling my history to the board members may have had a positive impact.

You have dedicated part of your career to the Rothschild & Co bank in Europe. What are the main professional challenges to start a whole new story in Israel?
I have always been driven by the wish to explore and contribute to something special in the global context from both personal and professional viewpoints. Very early, I decided to study and work overseas, I guess it is a bit of the ‘wandering Jew’ cultural heritage. The crucial asset is the adaptability! Company size, cultural gap, business environment, everything is new and it’s all a matter of adapting fast enough.

I have read that one third of French olim chadashim have returned to France for not finding their dream job in Israel. Has this ever been a concern for you? Did you ever think of giving up during this first year unemployed?
I arrived in Israel and immediately started the ulpan classes, joined Gvahim, looked for a job, and had several interviews as part of recruitment processes. I confess I had no time for fear, we always kept a positive attitude. Aliyah was done, there was no way back. Failing was not an option.

What can you teach from your Gvahim experience with your mentor, HR consultant and sessions?
I strongly appreciate all the time and energy that they gave us. Attending the Gvahim program helped me trigger my new professional start. We are very lucky to benefit from such advice, coaching and network. No other country in the world offers that! 

BRING IT FORWARD – An Alumni-born new initiative at Gvahim

by Rachel Hartman, Alumna of Career Program #23 

Last year, while driving home to Tel Aviv from a weekend up north, Fred got a call from a new graduate of Gvahim. Claire was a professional from France who had been living in Israel for about two years. She had recently completed Gvahim’s job accelerator program, and was looking for advice from someone in a similar stage in professional life, but who was more knowledgeable about the professional world in Israel. It was in this call that they both identified a problem that many Olim face: the lack of a professional peer social network.

When Olim come to Israel, we usually leave our social network behind in our home country. We know the impact this can have on our personal lives, but most don’t realize the impact it can have on us professionally. People use their professional social networks to not only find jobs, but to help with CVs, game plan answers for challenging questions in interviews, sanity check job offers, and more. While friends back home are usually just an SMS away, they’re no longer a good professional sounding board.


First Bring It Forward training at Gvahim’s Center

Bring it Forward’s mission is to fill this gap by helping new Olim establish a professional peer network in Israel. The program will match new Olim with Olim who have been in Israel longer, the more seasoned Oleh (referred to as a G-mate). The pairings are very carefully thought out, based on a variety of factors (such as age, language, and career aspirations), to ensure both parties will get the most out of the experience. Once matched, the G-mate and his/her Oleh partner will be required to meet once a month for four months, but can meet or talk on the phone as needed.

Before starting officially with the Bring it Forward program, G-mates undergo a training program. This training program is meant to both prepare the G-mates to make their pairing with the Olim more fruitful, and to create a community amongst the G-mates themselves. This inner G-mate community will become a high-value professional family, well worth the time and effort of joining. The end goal of the Bring it Forward program is to create a more vibrant and active community for all involved.

Claire and Fred have worked tirelessly to create the Bring it Forward program, and to organize it in a way that makes it both dynamic and a true value add to those involved and the community at large. Their tireless dedication to the betterment of the Gvahim community is appreciated by all, and serves as an example to future graduates. We all wish them will with the smart and ambitious endeavor, and look forward to seeing what happens in the future.

ADDED VALUE – Interview with Mark Ellins, veteran volunteer and mentor

By Larry Luxner

When multinational executive Mark Ellins — who runs the newly created High-Tech, Sales and Marketing alumni group within Gvahim — made aliyah back in 1983, he wasn’t serious about life in the least.

“I was a typical 18-year-old Jewish boy coming to play in Israel, work on a kibbutz and join the army,” he told us recently. “When I changed my status to ‘new immigrant, people said ‘Kol hakavod lecha.’ They were so impressed. In those days, it was a bigger deal than today. I have a picture taken with Yitzhak Rabin where he’s laughing at me, asking what the hell a Jewish boy from Beverly Hills is doing here. Even my friends on Facebook still laugh at me.”

But it wasn’t all about partying and getting lucky with girls. For the young Ellins, Israel was a bonanza professionally as well.

“I had a Forrest Gump kind of experience, where sometimes luck just landed on me,” he told us. “I was pulled into sales while studying at Bar-Ilan University. I thought high-tech was very interesting, so I started as a local salesman. In 1993, a company that imported software said ‘you should join us.’ That company turned out to be Microsoft.”

By the late ‘90s, Ellins saw how rapidly telecom was growing and wanted to get in on the ground floor.

“I just fell into these things that helped propel my career and enjoy the high-tech boom. It was a fun ride,” he said, recalling how he joined Efrat — which eventually morphed into Comverse Technology — and lived in Tokyo for two and a half years, enjoying first-class plane travel and luxury hotels. That high-flying lifestyle lasted all the way — all the way up to the dot-com crash of 2003; the financial crisis of 2008 finished it off.

Today, he said sadly, “there is no more Comverse. It was a billion-dollar company with one billion dollars in the bank. They lost it all.”

Ellins, 52, lives in Givat Shmuel — a small community near Petah Tikva — and heads sales and marketing for Brame Technologies. He’s been involved with Gvahim since 2008. And thanks to his rich and varied past, he knows what it’s like to start from scratch.

“As an oleh chadash, I had a great experience,” he said. “So I want to give back to olim, because I understand their frustrations. The market has been good to me, but it’s also slapped me in the face more than once or twice.”

The group Ellins manages for Gvahim has just over 1,300 members on its Facebook page. He’s also mentored at least a dozen Gvahim alumni who later landed high-tech sales and marketing jobs at major companies like HP, Amdocs and Arrow Computers.

“People would come to me even if I wasn’t a mentor,” he said. “I don’t do it to be remembered, but some of them have stayed my friends to this day.”

Since 2010, Ellins has specialized in the military and avionics computer electronics market. As such, he has some advice for new immigrants to Israel.

“Right now in sales, if you’re in a junior position, you should be looking at software as a service (SaaS),” he said. “And anyone with B2B experience should be looking into cybersecurity, homeland security products and project-based systems, but the defense industry is very, very difficult for an oleh chadash to penetrate. They will usually take an Israeli with an army rank, for example, a colonel.”

One more piece of advice from Ellins: “The market is looking for specific experience. You must fit the profile 100 percent. You can’t be just a good salesman and think you’ll be adaptable to every sector. That was back in the old days. Today, people must offer specific value.”

MENTORING FOR SUCCESS – Interview with Mark Haselton, mentor for the Career Program Alumni

By Larry Luxner

As global pipeline manager at Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mark Hasleton supervises the development of promising new therapies to treat a range of diseases. He’s happy if maybe five out of 100 such drugs see the light of day.

But as a mentor with Gvahim, Hasleton’s batting average is considerably better than that.

The British-born executive, who made aliyah from London eight years ago with his wife and three kids, has volunteered for Gvahim since 2012. In the process, he’s helped dozens of new immigrants land jobs not the conventional way — but the Israeli way.

“I just happened to come across Gvahim by chance actually, and someone gave me advice when I moved here. So it seemed like a good opportunity to repay the favor,” he said in a recent phone interview. “The people I’ve mentored all seem to be doing OK. They must be happy with it because they’ve often referred their friends to me.”

Mark, 45, says he meets up with new olim face-to-face for at least half an hour.

“If they come into Teva, I try to set up other meetings for them at the same time that might be relevant,” he said. “Every two weeks, we catch up for 20 minutes by phone. If anything pops up in the meantime, people can call me.”

But because, as Mark says, “a lot more goes on at Teva than just pharmaceuticals,” new arrivals who come to him for mentoring can expect help linking up with potential employers in other fields such as law, finance and information technology.

Don’t send out resumes blindly

The problem, he warns, is that looking for a job in Israel takes personal connections — something most recent immigrants are unaware of.

“People who come from Europe are used to the paradigm of sending out a CV, getting a response back, setting up an interview and getting a job. Then they come to Israel, send out CVs and don’t even get a response. That’s because a lot of the jobs that are advertised here are already gone,” Mark explained.

“Usually, companies will decide they need someone. They ask around who’s good, then they’ll decide they want that person to fill that position,” he continued. “Then HR will tell them they need to advertise it — even though the job has essentially been given to someone. So sitting at home sending out CVs is ineffective, and it can also be very detrimental and quite depressing for the person doing it.”

That’s why Mark tells people the first thing they should do is stop looking for a job.

“The key is all about networking – and how you present your self. If someone called me and asked if I have a job for them then I would have to say no. If, however, you call me and say ‘I’m new in Israel, I’d love to hear more about what you do,’ it’s no skin off my nose, and talking about me is my favorite topic,” he said.

Doing that helps educate potential employees about companies and sectors they hadn’t even thought about. More importantly, he said, “when those people who they’re meeting need somebody, they’ve already interviewed that person. You’re no longer just a PDF in an inbox, you’re someone who had the initiative to come out and meet him or her. I find frequently that the CV doesn’t match the person — but this way, the oleh and the person in a position to hire have already met.”

In the end, Mark said, this method works much better than emailing resumes to companies that may never respond.

“Right now, four or five jobs are out there that are tailor-made for you,” he advised. “The more you network, the more your chances of finding one or two of those jobs. They’re out there, but they’re not advertised. People who take this seriously and network aggressively find those jobs, and after four to six weeks — if they do it properly — they’re sitting down with two or three offers.”


THE JERUSALEM CONNECTION – Interview with Pini Glinkewitz of the Jerusalem Municipality

By Larry Luxner

When Portuguese-speaking Gabriel Jarovsky and his wife, Marcela, arrived in Israel nearly a year ago from their native Brazil, neither knew much Hebrew at all — but they wanted to learn as quickly as possible. So the young couple chose Jerusalem’s Ulpan Etzion, took an intensive five-month crash course and ultimately fell love with the city.

Yet without job connections or fluent Hebrew language skills, finding employment in their fields was tough. Gabriel, 33, a graphic designer who had his own software design company back in São Paulo, took a job at Café Landwer; Marcela, 30, a licensing and trademark specialist, began working at an ice-cream shop.

One day, Pini Glinkewitz — director of the Municipality of Jerusalem’s aliyah and integration branch — walked into the café, and Gabriel struck up a conversation.

“I had seen him a few times at Ulpan Etzion, so I approached him and told him I wanted to stay here in Jerusalem, but it wasn’t easy to find a job, especially with my low-level Hebrew,” he said. “Pini gave me his card and told me to go talk to Gvahim.”

That turned out to be sound advice. The Gvahim program — which cost 700 shekels and consisted of four one-on-one meetings of half a day each with a personal consultant — taught the Jarovskys how to “repackage” themselves, develop a job search strategy, adapt their resumes to the Israeli market and provide local networking opportunities.

“They helped us sell ourselves here in Israel, which is very different from Brazil, and how to produce a CV,” he said. “Less than a month later, I got a really good position.”

Gabriel is now a graphic designer at Jerusalem-based Quickode Ltd. His wife works at Yvel, a jewelry manufacturer. They continue to live in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood and have no intention of leaving.

“Without the people from Gvahim, it would have been really hard,” said Gabriel. “They created shortcuts and connected the dots. In my opinion, it’s completely worth it.”

Gvahim’s 92% success rate

That’s the kind of success story Glinkewitz loves to share. The Haifa-born social worker — a Jerusalem resident for more than half his 56 years — was former head of the municipality’s community work department before assuming his current job.

“It was a dream to bring Gvahim to Jerusalem,” said Glinkewitz, who approached Gvahim three years ago with the idea of jointly establishing a career program to help Israel’s capital city retain its young, skilled professionals.

“We saw that many young olim with academic degrees were taking Gvahim’s courses in Tel Aviv, because we didn’t have any in Jerusalem,” he said, estimating that 25 percent of those taking Gvahim’s courses at Tel Aviv University commuted from Jerusalem. Many left the capital city altogether once they got jobs in the Tel Aviv area.

“Tel Aviv got opportunities, but Jerusalem lost, because we didn’t have Gvahim here. So we began negotiating with Gvahim in order to bring them to Jerusalem,” said Glinkewitz.

By all accounts, that partnership has been a resounding success, with 92 percent of the participants in the program eventually finding professional-level jobs in the city.

“We’re not talking about working at a coffee shop or as a security guard,” he explained. “This means finding a suitable person for a suitable job at a suitable company.”

Jerusalem attracts more olim than Tel Aviv

Interestingly, Jerusalem is the only municipality in the country that helps pay for Gvahim. At present, every session has about 25 participants and takes place at Tzeirim BaMerkaz on Shivtei Israel Street. Courses run in English; the program manager is Danish-born Jonni Niemann.

“This was my baby and it’s still my baby — and it’s grown very nicely,” he said, noting proudly that Jerusalem today ranks as Israel’s leading city for new immigrants. During the first 11 months of 2017, the city attracted 2,475 olim, just ahead of Tel Aviv (2,404). New immigrants also flocked to Netanya (2,008), Haifa (1,888) and Bat Yam (1,124).

And they’re a diverse group, too. In 2016, roughly 1,200 olim who settled in Jerusalem were English speakers from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The city also attracted 900 French speakers, 500 Russian speakers and 200 Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin Americans like the Jarovskys.

“We’re doing this because we realize the importance of bringing Gvahim here,” said Glinkewitz. “Jerusalem has a kind of difficult image, that it’s expensive, that job opportunities are only in government or social work, that things are closed on Saturday, that it’s not high-tech. Its image is that it’s a hard place to live. But the cost of living in Jerusalem is actually lower than in Tel Aviv.”

Israel’s capital is also home to many biomedical giants including Teva Pharmaceuticals. It also has a 4,000-acre business park near the light rail, and in six months a high-speed train will be inaugurated — with three more light rail lines in the next five years — further sparking economic development in Jerusalem.

Asked what he’d like to see more of, Glinkewitz didn’t hesitate. “More career programs in Jerusalem, especially a medical program,” he replied. “We want anything that will lead olim to Jerusalem and get them to stay here.”

Gel de la réforme de la limite d’âge et de la durée du service militaire des Médecins Olim !

Credits photo : Eytan Pardo Roques

Ce mercredi 20 décembre 2017, la Commission Alyah & Intégration de la Knesset, sous la direction du député Avraham Neguise (Likud), s’est réunie en urgence pour discuter d’une  réforme voulue par l’armée concernant l’âge d’enrôlement des médecins nouveaux immigrants.

Les nouvelles règles qui devaient entrer en vigueur le 1er janvier 2018 relevaient de 32 à 35 ans l’âge a partir duquel le service militaire n’est plus obligatoire pour les hommes médecins et rendaient le service obligatoire pour les femmes médecins célibataires ainsi que pour les dentistes. Enfin la durée du service devait aussi de passer de 18 à 24 mois, sans garantie de prise en compte de la spécialité médicale. Ces mesures auraient donc eu un effet très dissuasif pour l’ensemble des jeunes médecins qui envisagent de venir exercer en Israel.

Suite aux arguments et chiffres avancés par Yonathan Rubinstein, responsable du programme Olim Medical de Gvahim ainsi que par NefeshBNefesh, les représentants militaires ont annoncé ne pas avoir pris de décision définitive et ont donc décidé de suspendre cette réforme. A la demande de la Knesset, l’armée devra donc se concerter avec le ministère de la Alyah et de l’intégration et le ministère de la Santé, également presents ce matin,  avant de prendre une décision.

Fin decembre, Gvahim a déjà rendez-vous avec des responsables militaires afin de leur présenter la situation de manière plus détaillée et d’initier une réflexion sur des alternatives possibles pour pallier au manque médecins et dentistes dans les rangs de Tsahal sans freiner l’Aliyah.

Le travail efficace de la commission de la Knesset, que nous remercions, et la mobilisation des acteurs concernés a donc permis de stopper cette mesure et d’ouvrir une nouvelle réflexion commune dans un état d’esprit positif et constructif.  Nous restons donc au statut actuel et avons une occasion exceptionnelle de mettre en place un modèle plus juste et gagnant pour tous les acteurs.

Gvahim remercie également la fondation Adelis qui soutient le programme Olim Medical, Myriam Leser  directrice génerale adjointe de Qualita presente à la Knesset ce matin, ainsi que tous les médecins qui nous ont aidés ces derniers jours à préparer cette commission en nous remontant leurs points de vues et leurs retours d’expériences ou en acceptant de témoigner dans l’article de Oz Rozenberg paru ce matin dans le quotidien Maariv http://www.maariv.co.il/news/israel/Article-614632

Médecins, vous pouvez contribuer au débat en nous envoyant vos idées et aspirations sur OlimMedical@gvahim.org.il


Gvahim has a new CEO, Juan Taifeld – MAZAL TOV!

Gvahim has a new CEO, Juan Taifeld – MAZAL TOV!
Juan was born in Mexico and made Aliyah to Israel in 1991. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Tel-Aviv University (TAU), a Master’s degree in Management and Educational Leadership from TAU and a second Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
Juan’s most recent position was as Regional Manager of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Latin America. Earlier in his career, he was the Worldwide Educational Manager of Hanoar Hatzioni NGO, and before that he worked at the Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Israel.
Please join us in wishing Juan Taifeld best of luck in his new role.