Ries, S., Glick, S.M., Urkin, J. & Gilbey, P.
During the British administration of the Palestine Mandate, before the foundation of Israel in 1948, the Jewish community built hospitals, developed a network of clinics, and established a fairly extensive coverage of health care. Yet not until 1949 was the first medical school founded at the Jerusalem-based Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Although much of the funding came from the Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, most of the teaching staff were, at first, refugees who had received their medical training in Germany before migrating to Palestine. Thus, until recently, Israeli basic medical education programmes followed the European model of 6 years of training after high school without prior premedical university education. Nevertheless, most Israeli medical students are older than their European counterparts, having had several years of military service before entry.
The founders of the medical school wanted to create a model of academic excellence. The competition for admission to the medical school was fierce: students were admitted largely on the basis of academic achievement and faculty promotion was based on research accomplishments. The academic quality was high, and this level of excellence continues to this day in each of Israel's five medical schools.