Wondering if there's still a chance of getting an Israel internship in 2020?
There’s some bad news and there’s some good news.
First, the bad news.
In a normal year, with the summer just begun, it would be a bit of a challenge to find an internship in Israel at the last minute.
That said, there are always some companies who struggle for months to find good candidates, there are interns who need to cancel for personal reasons, companies whose internship needs only become clear as July approaches, and so on.
And that’s in a normal year.
This year, as you can imagine, things are a lot tougher.
The bad news
1) Due to the coronavirus, some internship programs have been completely canceled for 2020 including Masa Israel Journey’s short-term (2 month) summer programs – you can’t even get a Masa visa for this summer right now, although hopefully that will change – and the downward turn in the Israeli economy means that some Israeli companies can no longer afford to have internship programs. Both factors will create more competition for the few remaining internships.
2) Coronavirus travel restrictions both in Israel and around the world mean there are few flights interns can take, directly or indirectly, between the two countries. The Israeli border is currently closed to foreigners with only a few exceptions (more on that below), and even if the borders start opening up, the situation is evolving daily and there’s no guarantee the borders will stay open or for how long; in Israel, with rising numbers of infected citizens, there’s fear of a “second wave” of the virus and what that could mean. Put differently, we know that interns will have a hard time getting to Israel, but it may be even harder to get home.
Seems pretty bleak, I know.
However, there is some good news.
The good news
1) Most internship programs aimed at non-Israelis are run in conjunction with Masa Israel Journey, who provide student grants and special entry visas. Until late May, the Israeli government wasn’t going to honor those visas due to COVID-19, but that has since changed albeit with some strings attached, such as a mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for arriving interns.
This only applies if you already have a Masa visa.
2) If you don't have a Masa visa yet, Masa Israel Journey told me they are still expecting to have 5-month internship programs beginning in August 2020. Applications aren’t yet open as I write this, but you can sign up to be notified.
3) Every year for the past decade, usually around November, I blog a long list of Israel internship programs for the coming year, and throw in a FAQ, success stories and links to helpful resources, such as where to find scholarships alongside Masa grants. I can confirm there are still internships available, especially towards the end of the summer and in the fall. Students will need to dig a little and may need to send some email or make some calls, as it’s not always clear when organizations last updated their internship listings.
Download a spreadsheet of Israel internships. It contains internships and their contact information in an easily sortable format you can use to track which ones you applied for.
4) Although the coronavirus has made life difficult for everyone, some people have been hit harder than others. Certain students won’t want or be able to leave home now, which to some extent should lessen the increase in competition I mentioned above.
5) Such students in particular will be happy to know that there are internship programs who have gone remote, allowing students to intern for Israel without coming to Israel. No, it’s not the same as living in Israel and learning about Israeli culture for a period of time, but it’s better than nothing, and a virtual internship can still provide valuable experience and help get a foot in the door with an Israeli company for another position in the future, such as an internship next summer when hopefully COVID-19 will just be a bad memory.
6) To different degrees over the past few months, many Israeli companies have required employees to work from home in accordance with regulations from the Israeli Health Ministry. Employers were forced to learn about managing remote workers and put into place any necessary technology to do so. The silver lining is that they’re now better prepared than ever to deal with remote interns as well, so students shouldn’t hesitate to propose a virtual internship to any Israeli organization they’d love to contribute to from abroad.
To sum up, as of July 2020:
- If you still want to do an internship in Israel this year but haven’t gotten one yet, you can’t currently get into the country but you can still prepare for when the borders reopen to foreigners by applying now.
- If you do already have a Masa visa for an internship, you can come if you can get a flight, and you'll need to follow coronavirus regulations on arrival, such as going into a 14-day quarantine
- If coming to Israel this summer is less of an option for you now, aim for a remote internship that could evolve down the road. Check my long list, search LinkedIn or Google, and contact appealing companies and organizations such as Sodastream or Monday.com directly to offer your services.
Question of the article
How did COVID-19 affect your plans for an internship in Israel? Tell us in the comments.