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Israel/health care in Israel


Does the state of Israel have universal health care coverage for all residents regardless of age and without co-payment point of service? If so, why do charities have us in the USA on their mailing lists to help pay medical costs of Israeli residents?

Hi Michael,

Israel does have mandatory universal health care insurance for all residents regardless of age or occupation. To cover the cost of this, each working Israeli has to give the government up to 5% of his salary as “Health Tax”.

The particular nature of Israeli economy, that has a very educated middle class, and a maverick high tech industry, but also has large segments of the population with low participation rate in the work force (mainly Ultra Orthodox Jews and Arab women), presents a challenge to the financing of the system.

I am not aware of what charities in USA raise money for. As any health care system, this system has its ups and downs. On one hand, all citizens and even non-citizen residents get primary health care, Israel is in the 5th place of OECD’s “better life” index in matters of public health (US is 9th), life expectancy is one of the highest in the world (about 3 years more the US), infant death rate is very low (about half of US rate). On the negative side, Israeli hospitals are the most crowded in the developed world, there is very low ratio of nurses per capita, the wait for non-emergency health services can be very long, and the quality of service has space for improvement (to put it mildly).

As a result, despite the universality of the insurance system, there are socio-economic gaps in health care.  Most middle and upper class Israelis, purchase additional health care insurance and/or use private health care to overcome the shortcoming of the existing system.



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Yishay Lehman


I can answer most questions about travel in Israel and general information such as history, politics, customs, etc. I have less knowledge about accomodation, as being a native I don't use them much, but still you can try me in this area as well


A native Israeli with a history degree and a love of travel, I volunteer as a tour guide from time to time.

History B.A from the Hebrew University. Tour Guide diploma from the Ben Zvi institute

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