The Health Ministry intends to change the process of licensing doctors in Israel, including replacing the present licensing exams with an international version of the U.S. licensing examinations. The change would also allow doctors licensed in the United States to receive Israeli medical licenses without taking any further tests.

The international version of the United States Medical Licensing Examination is used in 23 countries, and would replace the existing five Israeli exams. The new exam process would also put an end to claims of discrimination against medical students who studies overseas, who are given different licensing exams than those who studied in Israel.

The change would also allow those doctors who trained in the United States, or elsewhere, and have already passed the USMLE, to be licensed in Israel without taking additional tests.

Israeli medical students now take a series of five tests spread out over two years of their studies, while those students who went to medical school abroad take only a single exam after they complete their studies. This exam is also different than the ones given to those who studied here. For years there have been complaints that the exam for foreign students is much harder - and in fact the pass rate for this exam is indeed much lower than is the pass rate for the exam administered to students who studied in Israel. .

There are still a number of obstacles to the change in licensing. The USMLE is given in English, not Hebrew. The USMLE board also does not allow examinees to appeal their grades or examine their answers.

Even though the Knesset has recessed until the January election, the Health Ministry is now trying to advance new regulations which would allow the licensing of Israeli medical students who have passed the USMLE. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism ) recently initiated changes to the medical licensing regulations allowing those medical students who pass their USMLE licensing exams on their first attempt to be exempted from having to take the equivalent Israeli exam. Litzman said the Israel Medical Association also supports the change.

Every year dozens of Israeli doctors who plan on working or continuing their studies in the United States already take the USMLE exam since it is a prerequisite for receiving a U.S. medical license.