Among the dozens of doctors who recently completed the medical officers' training course are many who immigrated specifically to serve in the IDF
Thirty doctors officially became IDF medical officers last week, following years of medical and military training, including the completion of medical degrees. A number of the new medical officers immigrated from abroad specifically to fill this important post within the IDF.
The group's immigrants came from the U.K., Latvia, Argentina, and a number of other countries. "This position, in which on one hand you're a doctor and on the other hand you're as close as possible – together with combat soldiers – attracts Jews from abroad," explained Cpt. Dr. Ofer Almog, commander of the regular medical officers' training course.
One of the new medical officers is Lt. Dr. Emmanuel Attali, who immigrated to Israel from Paris eight years ago, specifically to serve in the IDF. He has been selected to serve as a medical officer in a battalion of the Nahal Brigade. "The terrible anti-Semitism in France and the Intifada in Israel, which occurred at the same time, convinced me to immigrate to Israel and to serve in the army," he recounted.
Medical officers' training includes six and a half years of study and one year of internship, in addition to military training. These officers "did not do [prior] military service, so we must prepare them for conditions in the field," explained Cpt. Dr. Almog. "The preparation of a military doctor is the longest course of preparation in the IDF."
All medical officers first complete medical studies, receiving the degree of Medical Doctor. During breaks from their medical studies, they complete basic training, the paramedics' course, and officers' training. After becoming doctors, they participate in the medical officers' training course. During this last phase, the doctors participate in live-fire exercises and practice navigating, commanding armored personnel carriers, and providing medical care in a variety of battle scenarios.