“Let the buyer beware” (or caveat emptor, in Latin) is a fundamental principle of contract law, under which the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of an item before he buys it. So, if a buyer fails to make the appropriate legal, planning and physical checks before purchasing a property, he has only himself to blame.
Yet, under Israeli contract law, a good faith obligation is imposed not only in fulfilling a contract, but even when negotiating a contract, the parties must “act in a customary manner and in good faith”. Failure to do so may entitle the injured party to sue for compensation (sections 12 and 39 of the Contracts (General Part) Law, 5733-1973). The requirement of good faith not only in fulfilling the contract, but even at the negotiating stage, regardless of whether the contract materializes at all, is an extremely far-reaching innovation. Effectively, this means that one or both parties to a contract may be liable for acting in bad faith or against good usage.
Concealment of defects is a common phenomenon in the second-hand property market in Israel. Sellers exploit the buyer’s naiveté and attempt to hide behind the conventional rule of caveat emptor. The standard clause that appears in almost all real estate contracts states: “The Apartment will be sold כמות שהיא”, and to underscore the fact that the buyer will be estopped from suing the sellers should it transpire after the sale that any defects are discovered by the buyer, the two Hebrew words will be translated into English(!), often capitalized, underlined and bolded: “AS IS”.
Yet a growing number of court cases in recent years have clarified that the seller is required to disclose to the buyer any defects of which he is aware before signing the sale contract. In one case, the court ordered an apartment seller to pay NIS 200,000 in compensation for committing a fundamental breach of the contract, after failing to disclose to the buyers that the patio flooring was planned. The buyers, who bought the apartment in the summer of 2015, sued the sellers, when, in the winter of that year, it became apparent that the defective tiling on the balcony was causing drainage problems, resulting in turn in the penetration of rain water into the outer walls. Moreover, they claimed the sellers were grossly in breach of their contractual declarations and undertakings, which stated that all of the systems in the property were in proper working order and that they were not aware of any defect in the house.
The sellers protested that in the sale agreement the buyers had declared and warranted that they had examined the property, including its physical, engineering and planning condition, and found it suitable for their purposes, and explicitly waived any claim on the ground of defect or incompatibility, purchasing the property “as is”.
The court ruled that the sellers had breached their duty of disclosure, such breach contradicting the principle of good faith enshrined in Israeli law. To the contrary, the Sale Law required the sellers to represent the true condition of the property to the buyers.
The court had recourse also to section 15 the Israeli Contract Law, which provides that “deceit includes the nondisclosure of facts which the other party – according to law, custom or circumstances, should have disclosed”. The assumption is that due to the buyer’s limited access to material information regarding the property, his position is inferior to that of the seller. It follows that the seller is required to reveal, in a proactive and explicit manner, any factor relevant to the specific condition of the property being sold. This might include dampness and mold (retivut) problems, electrical faults etc., in addition to liens and charges relating to the legal status. Planning infringements should also be disclosed.
Section 16 of the Sale Law further provides that failure to disclose a nonconformity “arising out of facts which the seller knew or should have known when the contract was concluded, and which he did not disclose to the buyer” may entitle the buyer to rely on such nonconformity, “provided he gives notice to the seller immediately upon discovering it”. In practice, even if notice has not been furnished in a timely manner, the buyer may still be entitled to compensation, according to a court ruling in a case of retivut. Even a nonconformity that appears minor or insignificant in the seller’s eyes should be disclosed by the seller.
Does this mean that the buyer need not perform legal/planning/physical checks of the property before he buys it? No; all such checks should be performed as a matter of course, using appropriate professionals. Firstly, for peace of mind; but, secondly, because, in practice, it is often possible to obtain a reduction in the sale price due to some defect discovered in the premises in the course of an inspection!
Yet as the buyer’s lawyer, I would add a large number of prefatory clauses (“Recitals”) to the contract, in which the seller declares and affirms that his rights in the property are free and clear of any lien, charge, mortgage etc.; that there is no demolition or other judicial/administrative order against the premises, and the seller is not aware of any intention to instigate such proceedings; that the property is fit for living in; that it has been constructed according to a lawful building permit; that there Is no demand and/or dispute and/or other legal proceeding between the seller and neighbors or other third party, including any tenants in the premises; that the seller is not aware of anyone who has been injured in the apartment and/or of any tortious proceeding against the apartment etc.
So, yes, the buyer should beware and be aware of anything that can conceivably be discovered by an appropriate professional and through the naked eye; but sellers too should be wary that the courts may, in appropriate cases, rule that they have not, in good faith, fulfilled their legal obligations owed to the buyers!
The writer, Simon M. Jackson, is a practicing Israeli attorney, notary and legal translator, and also a qualified UK solicitor. Simon represents residential and commercial clients in real estate transactions, and also advises on rental, employment and general contracts. Simon can be contacted by any of the following methods:
If you have not completed an internship overseas prior to making Aliyah, you are required to complete an internship, or stage, in Israel. Before you start working as an intern, you must pass the Israeli internship exam. This exam is very similar to the USMLE Level 2 and is given twice a year.
• 2 passport photos. • 2 photocopies of your Teudat Zehut, including the address stub. (If you are a tourist, please submit 2 photocopies of your passport with valid authorization for living in Israel.) • Official confirmation of start and end date of studies. Often, this information appears on your diploma or transcript. If not, you can request a letter from your medical school indicating your start and end date. • Final diploma from a recognized university (or certification from a university regarding completion of studies, completion of all requirements for the university, and entitlement to a degree in medicine to be awarded on a certain date). • Fill out two copies of each of the following forms. A photocopy is not sufficient. Forms must be written in Hebrew: 1. בקשה להבחן 2. שאלון לעובדים מקצועיים בתחום הבריאות
For further information in translating and notarizing documents for the licensing process (whether pre or post Aliyah), feel free to contact Simon at: ++972-737-40-60-40 / ++972-0545-742-374 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is Simon’s policy to charge only for the notarization process at the rate prescribed by law in the case of a notarized translation, with no additional cost for undertaking the actual translation of documents, wherever possible.This is our last post in this series, in which we discuss: “What Happens Next?” –
(a) After you have submitted your specialty recognition documents to the Scientific Council (Moatza Mada’it) of the Israel Medical Association; and
(b) After your provisional license expires that you obtained from the Ministry of Health.
(a) Receiving Your Specialty License
Once the Scientific Council receives and processes your documents, they will send you a letter explaining what you need to do in order to be qualified as a specialist.
The Specialty Committee can take two or three months to meet and evaluate credentials. If the Scientific Council decides not to recognize the specialty immediately, it may ask for more course work, an extension of the residency (“Hitmachut”), or exams. This is up to the Committee and each applicant must be in direct contact with the Council to discuss his/her case individually.
The Council also requires that a specialist fulfill an “adaptation period” –Tekufat Histaglut (formerly called: Tekufat Histaklut – “observation period”) in a recognized department in Israel under supervision and present a letter of recommendation from the head of department or clinic in order for it to grant a specialty license. The observation period is usually 1 to 3 months long.
Once you finish your Histaglut, you need to submit the following forms to the Moetza Mada’it (IMA) in order to be recognized as a specialist:
• A signed letter from the head of the department where you did your Histaglut, stating that you have completed your Histaglut (you should make sure the beginning and end dates of your Histaglut period are mentioned in the letter).
• A form asking to be recognized as a specialist.
• Payment for recognition of your specialty.
• A photocopy of your license from Misrad HaBriut.
Two Important Notes:
• It is worth applying to the Scientific Council for specialty recognition before you make Aliyah (this can be done at the same time as you apply for your general license from Misrad HaBriut), for two reasons: (1) you will know beforehand how long you will need to wait in order to be recognized in your specialty in Israel; and (2) this shortens the licensing process because it eliminates many months of waiting for an answer from the Scientific Council after you receive your general medical license.
• In many specialties, the Israeli residency period is 12-18 months longer than the residency periods abroad. It is therefore highly recommended to work in a hospital following your residency, because this can be counted towards the residency period in Israel. In addition, if you are working in private practice but maintain a part-time affiliation with a hospital, this might also be counted towards your Israeli residency period.
(b) Receiving Your Permanent License to Practise as a Physician in Israel
Physicians initially receive a provisional (temporary) license, which is valid for 14 months. To receive the permanentlicense, you must have at least 12 months of experience working as a physician in Israel, and you must submit a letter of recommendation from a certified Israeli specialist who has observed your professional work. This specialist does not need to be in your field.
In order to receive your permanent license, you must therefore mail the following to Misrad HaBriut, at least 8 weeks before your temporary license expires:
1. Original temporary license (keep a copy!)
2. Letter from an employer who is a specialist, indicating that you worked for a period of at least 1 year. The wording of this letter comes in the envelope with the temporary license that you received from the Health Ministry (חוות דעת מקצועית לקראת קבלת רשיון קבוע).
Note: You can extend your temporary license for a period of three years (e.g. if you have not worked for 12 months in Israel. To do so, you must also submit your original temporary license.
Simon M. Jackson is an Israeli notary, attorney and professional translator who specializes in assisting Olim Chadashim to acclimatize in Israel. He can be contacted by telephone, Skype or email.In our last 5 posts, we reviewed the main documents that need to be submitted to the Israeli Ministry of Health (Misrad HaBriut), when applying for recognition of one’s foreign licensing credentials in Israel. We also outlined how reimbursement can be obtained for monies expended on notarized translations in the licensing process.
In our next post in this series, we discuss the process for obtaining specialty recognition for those who hold a certificate of specialization from abroad. This is a separate process from the general medical licensing procedure application and is made to the Scientific Council (Moatza Mada’it) of the Israel Medical Association. The process can be conducted in parallel to (and, if desired, even before submitting) the license application.
The following documents should be presented to the Moatza Mada’it (note that, in contrast to documents for the Health Ministry, documents for the IMA can be submitted in English!)
1. Letter to the Scientific Council detailing the request and clearly stating in which fields of medicine the applicant wishes to have his/her specialty certification recognized.
2. A detailed CV (with email address, residence and updated telephone numbers), including details of specialty training. Note any hospital affiliation that you have, following your residency. Your training will be compared to the Israeli syllabus, therefore, it is important to build your CV in a manner that is maximally parallel to the Israeli equivalent.
3. A notarizedcopy of the MD / Diploma of completion of medical studies.
4. A notarizedcopy of the Board Certification / Specialty Certification.
5. A notarizedcopy of all documents attesting to clinical experience since receiving the MD diploma – including:
(a) detailed description of any internship period;
(b) official document from the body responsible for residency in the country where the residency training was completed (detailing the residency track performed) and the complete residency syllabus for the period in which the residency was performed; and
(c) additional experience as a specialist (official documents from places where you worked following your residency, detailing your work experience as a specialist).
6. A notarizedcopy of the documents attesting to examinations taken. Note: Physicians who took the American boards are not required to provide this certification.
7. Photocopy of a license to practice medicine in Israel (if already exists).
8. A physician who has recently worked for a period of time in a recognized department in Israel should present a letter of recommendation from the Head of Department.
9. A physician who has already been accepted to a hospital department in Israel should state this in his or her application.
10. For the surgical specialties, anesthetics, ENT, ophthalmology and obstetrics & gynecology – list surgeries done during the residency, and if the residency was done many years ago, provide a list of operations/procedures from the five years prior to your Aliyah.
In our next and last post in this series, we will outline “What Happens Next?” – (a) after submitting your specialty recognition documents to the Scientific Council at the IMA; and (b) after your provisional license, obtained from the Ministry of Health, expires!
Simon M. Jackson is an Israeli notary, attorney and professional translator who specializes in assisting Olim Chadashim to acclimatize in Israel. He can be contacted by telephone, Skype or email.In our last 4 posts, we conducted an overview of the main documents that need to be submitted to the Israeli Health Ministry (Misrad HaBriut), when applying for recognition of one’s foreign licensing credentials in Israel. In this post, we discuss what happens after you submit your documents – and also how to claim reimbursement for the fees you expend on your notarized translations!
First, my advice is – send your documents to the Health Ministry via courier only. I do not advise even taking them in to the Misrad HaBriut’s office on 39 Yirmiyahu Street in Jerusalem. At best, you’ll be able to leave them at the Security Desk – but even then, there’s no guarantee they will arrive – in one piece or at all – at the Health Professions Licensing Department on the 11th floor!
The Licensing Department’s response time used to be 4-6 weeks, but this has now been doubled due to the numbers of applications! Still, outside of the festival periods, a response to straightforward applications will usually be much quicker in practice. After 2-3 weeks of sending in your documents, you can try calling the MoH Call Center (*5400) to request a File Number (this is a good time to request the Letter of Good Standing from the State Medical Board / GMC etc., and if they agree to cite your File Number with the letter, this can even reduce the chance of misunderstandings when the letter actually arrives in Israel!)
Assuming all your documents are in order, you will receive a letter stating: “once you present your Israeli ID card (after making Aliyah), we will be able to continue examining your application.” Effectively, this means – all your documents have been approved! And once they receive a copy of your Teudat Zehut (certified by an attorney/notary as a true copy of the original), you will receive an email stating that you can pay the provisional license fee (currently NIS 431). You can do this online, and around 3 weeks later you should receive your provisional license by registered mail, to the address on your ID card!
At the end of 2015, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration (Misrad Ha’Aliyah ve-Ha’kelita) discovered some surplus funds in their purse! They decided to allocate this money to Olim Chadashim specifically for the reimbursement of fees paid for notarized translations of licensing documents. The Ministry agreed to reimburse up to NIS 4,000 expended by foreign licensed professionals, following presentation of a properly worded receipt as well as a copy of the notarizations, after their Aliyah. Better still – they have continued to offer such reimbursement ever since!
In practice, in almost all cases, full reimbursement can thus be received for fees outlaid on professional translations and notarizations. There are some exceptions – for example, those over retirement age and thus unable to work in Israel will not receive reimbursement, and of course if your case is complicated and many more documents than the norm are required, the fee can be well in excess of NIS 4,000. However, as a rule, the good news is that you can request full reimbursement by making an appointment with Misrad Ha’Aliyah ve-Ha’kelita as soon as you make Aliyah (their telephone number is 1599-500-923).
In our next post in this series, we will outline the documents required by those physicians seeking recognition of their specialty fields. This is done by a different body to the Ministry of Health – the Scientific Council (Moatza Mada’it) at the Israel Medical Association.
Simon M. Jackson is an Israeli notary, attorney and professional translator who specializes in assisting Olim Chadashim to acclimatize in Israel. He can be contacted by telephone, Skype or email.In our last post, we offered a number of pointers when completing the two important Hebrew documents in the quest for recognition of one’s foreign licensing credentials by the Israeli Health Ministry (Misrad HaBriut): (1) the 4-page Questionnaire – Application to Practise Medicine in Israel (“She’eilon”); (2) the Request to Take the State Licensing Exam (“Bakasha Le’Hibachein”).
In this post, we take a look in greater detail at two of the documents required in the licensing recognition process:
1. Employment verification letter from the institutions at which you worked in your profession over (at least) the last 5 years.
2. Professional letter of good standing from the authorized bodies in the country from which you immigrated to Israel (the State Medical Board in the US, the General Medical Council in the UK etc,), which confirms that there are no, and have not been any, disciplinary, negligence or professional ethics complaints against you.
Employment Verification Letter
What should you provide if you are not a salaried employee abroad?
The answer is other documents, which will satisfy the Licensing Department that you have worked in your profession for at least the five years.
If you have worked with a colleague in the same office, then consider presenting a letter signed by him/her, which attests to your work experience.
Alternatively and/or in addition: provide some other official document that states you have worked, e.g.
Confirmation from the State Medical Board, or A letter from your accountant which stipulates those years for which s/he has handled your tax affairs and during which you have practised as a doctor…
2. Letter of Good Standing
In a previous post, we explained that this letter is the exception to the rule – in that it does need require translation and notarizion, provided it is mailed directly to Misrad HaBriut.
The problem/challenge is that this important document sometimes gets lost en route to Israel (either before it arrives in Israel, or even on arrival in Israel, but before making it up from the Mailing Room at the Ministry of Health to the Licensing Department itself). Unfortunately, the State Medical Board / GMC etc. refuse to send this letter with any form of tracking, thus exacerbating this problem still further…
One tip of mine is to request the Letter of Good Standing only after filing your licensing documents with the MoH and obtaining a File Number (Reish Taf _________).
Other possibilities include submitting a notarized translation of this document too, which at least ensures that the document will arrive in one piece to the Licensing Department (assuming it is sent by next-day courier, which I am accustomed to doing for physician-clients).
In any event, it is important that the Letter should be addressed to the Ministry of Health – or, at the very least, not to the doctor him/herself at his/her overseas address!
In our next post, we will discuss how you can obtain full reimbursement, in the majority of cases, of fees you pay in respect to notarized translations in the medical licensing recognition process!
Simon M. Jackson is an Israeli notary, attorney and professional translator who specializes in assisting Olim Chadashim to acclimatize in Israel. He can be contacted by telephone, Skype or email.In our last post, we explained which documents the Israeli Health Ministry (Misrad HaBriut) requires, to enable foreign-trained doctors to have their professional credentials recognized in Israel.
The first two of these documents are:
• A 4-page Questionnaire – Application to Practise Medicine in Israel (“She’eilon”) • A Request to Take the State Licensing Exam (“Bakasha Le’Hibachein”)
Both of these documents must be properly completed in Hebrew, signed, and submitted to the MoH Licensing Department, along with all the supporting documentation, in duplicate.
Here are some pointers to note when completing these two important documents:
1. The request to take the licensing exam must be completed even if you anticipate you will be entitled to an exemption from taking the exam (for example, if you have successfully passed the USMLE examinations, or have practiced medicine abroad for 14 years or more)!
2. On both the Questionnaire and the Exam Application Form, if you do not have a Israeli ID Number(Teudat Zehut), you should insert your foreign Passport Number instead (Note, the Licensing Department requires you to submit a certified copy of your Israeli ID card in order to receive your provisional license to practise medicine; hence, if you only have an Israeli Passport, this will not suffice for this purpose – even if it contains your ID number).
3. If you are applying for licensing recognition before making Aliyah, write in the spot “Date of Aliyah” – the anticipated date of your Aliyah, and include a letter from the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) if you have one.
4. Make sure you include an Israeli cell number for the purpose of receiving status updates regarding your application. Likewise, when inserting your contact details, give an Israeli address. Finally, provide the Licensing Department with a Gmail address (or similar), as a less common email address may well be rejected by the MoH mail server!
5. Use the day / month / year format, rather than the month / day / format, which is the norm in the US but not at all the case in Israel, to prevent confusion of the bureaucrats in the MoH Licensing Department!
In our next post, we will discuss other documents that the Licensing Department will require in special cases.
Simon M. Jackson is an Israeli notary, attorney and professional translator who specializes in assisting Olim Chadashim to acclimatize in Israel. He can be contacted by telephone, Skype or email.In our last post, we gave an overview of the Foreign Licensing Recognition Process by the Department of Medical Professions at the Ministry of Health (Misrad HaBriut).
In this post, we discuss what documents Misrad HaBriut really needs, in order to obtain recognition as a foreign-trained doctor in Israel. The following documents should be submitted:
1. Application/registration form (properly completed in duplicate and in Hebrew; this will be considered in further detail in our next post).
2. Request to take the licensing exam (properly completed in duplicate and in Hebrew; this will be considered in further detail in our next post).
3. 2 current passport photos (these should be stapled to the two Application Forms).
4. Certified copy of your current foreign passport if you are applying pre-Aliyah (or your Israeli ID Card (Teudat Zehut), including the address stub, if you have already made Aliyah).
5. Final diploma from a recognized university or certification from a university of completion of studies, completion of all requirements for the university, and entitlement to a degree in medicine to be awarded on a certain date.
6. Official confirmation of beginning and end date of studies. The end date will usually appear on your diploma, but the start date rarely will. Therefore, you should request a simple letter from your medical school indicating the start and end date of your studies.
7. Official confirmation of successful completion of internship (staj), including details about the departments in which your internship took place and the amount of time spent in each department. Alternatively, provide official confirmation of work in clinical medicine for at least one year.
8. Valid medical license. Note: You cannot submit an expired license. If just renewed, attach a copy of your old license too.
9. Official letter of employment from the institutions at which you worked over at least the last 5 years. Essentially, this needs to state the start and end dates of work at each institution, and clarify in a sentence what you did (the purpose being to satisfy Misrad HaBriut that you were actually practiced medicine, rather than just serving as the office secretary or manager!)
10. Specialist’s certificate from abroad (in the relevant cases).
11. Professional letter of good standing from the authorized bodies in the country from which the applicant immigrated to Israel (the State Medical Board in the US, the General Medical Council in the UK, the College des Medicines du Quebec in Montreal, etc.). The letter confirms that there are no, and have not been any, disciplinary, negligence or professional ethics complaints against the physician. Note: this letter need not be translated and notarized, provided it is mailed directly to Misrad HaBriut.
12. Documentation indicating any name change, if relevant.
13. Letter from the Scientific Council at the Israel Medical Association (Moetza Ha-Madait), if you have already been accepted as a specialist (their requirements for specialty recognition will be covered in a future post).
Note: All documents must be translated and notarized by an Israeli notary. For each document that you submit, you should submit 1 notarized copy, plus a photocopy of that same document. Do not submit any original files!Overview of the Foreign Licensing Recognition Process by the Department of Medical Professions at the Ministry of Health (Misrad Habriut).
In order to practice medicine in Israel, you are required to hold a license issued by the Department of Medical Professions of the Ministry of Health (Misrad Habriut). To be eligible for a license, you must have completed your studies at a recognized medical school in the US, Canada or the UK, as well as one year of internship or clinical work (the length depends on your specialty). If you complete your internship prior to Aliyah, you must hold a valid, current medical license from your country of origin. If you have not completed one year of internship prior to Aliyah, you must pass an exam and do your internship (“staj”) in Israel before you can begin your residency.
(It used to be the case that doctors were required to take a Hebrew proficiency test as part of the licensing process – the good news is that this is no longer required in the case of physicians, albeit that it is still required for most other licensed medical professionals!)
Further good news is that several years ago Misrad Habriut started a pilot program, whereby potential Olim can begin the licensing process prior to making Aliyah. In order to qualify for this program, a number of steps must be satisfied:
1) Applicants must have received Aliyah approval from the Jewish Agency.
2) All licensing documents must be translated and notarized by an Israeli notary in Israel. If you visit Israel prior to your Aliyah, this is a good opportunity to have your documents authorized by an Israeli notary and even submitted to Misrad Habriut.
3) Your medical license can only be issued after you are issued an Israeli ID Card (Teudat Zehut) and submit a certified copy of it to Misrad Habriut (Note: an ID number, e.g. in case of a returning resident, is insufficient for this purpose).
Next Post:What documents do Misrad HaBriut really need, in order to obtain recognition as a foreign-trained doctor in Israel?