Israel, Netherlands to discuss survivor compensation

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February 11, 2016 03:19

“No definite decisions were made and discussion on this issue is ongoing with the Israeli authorities,” says Dutch statement.

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Yad Vashem

A Holocaust survivor wears a yellow star during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Jerusalem and Amsterdam will negotiate the handling of compensation paid to Holocaust survivors after reports that the Netherlands plans to curtail or reduce monthly payments to those who have immigrated to Israel, the Knesset Finance Committee said on Wednesday.

Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni expressed outrage earlier this month about the reports in Israel which said Amsterdam wanted to cease paying benefits to survivors who were also receiving compensation through the Israeli government.

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The Dutch subsequently denied these reports as “incorrect, saying “it is in no way the intention of the Dutch government to stop these payments.”

However, the embassy acknowledged there was discussion about scaling back complementary payments referred to as WUV, that the Dutch government’s Pensions and Benefits Council provides to needy recipients on a per-case basis, in addition to special pensions given to all Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands.

The discussion about scaling back WUV payments is a result of additional funds that Holocaust survivors in Israel began receiving in June 2014 from the Israeli government, a Dutch embassy statement said.

But, the statement added that “no definite decisions were made and discussion on this issue is ongoing with the Israeli authorities.”

In a statement of their own on Wednesday, the Finance Committee said Israeli and Dutch negotiators would soon discuss the issue.

Gafni said that he had a good meeting with the Dutch ambassador and that he “has no reservations about the government of the Netherlands.”

“The concern for Holocaust survivors is one of the most important issues for us, after one third of the Jewish people perished in the Holocaust. We have a moral obligation to do everything possible for the sake of the survivors who are with us here in Israel,” Gafni said.

The Dutch ambassador, Gilles Beschoor Plug, confirmed the plan, saying “representatives of the two governments will meet in order to find a solution that would provide an adequate response to Holocaust survivors.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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