Israeli doctors are the newest tourist attraction


Israel offers many pluses to foreigners who want to undergo operations or rehabilitation, receive medical treatment or get diagnosed – excellent medical facilities, staff who speak a wide variety of languages, significantly lower prices than in Western countries, a welcoming climate and high-level tourist facilities. But busy as they are with taking care of Israelis, many hospitals, clinics and other facilities haven’t paid much attention to the profitable overseas market.

Now the Health and Tourism Ministries have produced Meditour, a colorful 40-page English-language guide to medical tourism in Israel. It is being distributed directly by the ministries to travel agencies, journalists and hospitals, and at international medical conferences held here.

The first issue, with a cover featuring photos of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, personal connections between doctor and patient and a heart shaped by four hands, gives contact information about all the country’s medical centers, both public and private, and information about services such as Yad Sarah available to tourists with special needs.

One article stresses that Israeli experts have more experience performing fertility treatment (in-vitro fertilization) than those in almost any other country, and charge much less. In the US, for example, a single IVF treatment cycle can cost between $16,000 and $20,000, while the rates here range around $3,250. Israeli plastic surgeons also offer relatively inexpensive surgery. Then there are the incomparable Dead Sea spas and medical centers for treating a variety of skin disorders such as psoriasis, and to relieve heart, joint and respiratory diseases. The magazine also lists tourists sites where patients can go during breaks in their treatments.