holocaust survivors 248 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The government approved a new welfare package for around a third of the country's Holocaust survivors Sunday, closing a loophole which denied support for thousands of Israelis who became refugees during the Nazi genocide in Europe.
Sunday's cabinet decision followed public criticism of the government for not doing enough to help Israelis who survived the murder of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. Today, many of the survivors are elderly and needy.
"Survivors who until now did not receive any monthly stipend will now receive payments from January 2008, backdated to October 2007," Raanan Dinor, director of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, said in a statement, which added that the measure was part of a broader 2 billion shekels package of assistance to the elderly.
The 80,000 people aided by the new measure fled their homes ahead of advancing Nazi forces and became refugees but did not fall under Nazi occupation. Most are from the former Soviet Union and moved to Israel in the 1990s. They are among a total of 240,000 Holocaust survivors now living in Israel.
Those who survived the war under direct Nazi rule were in August guaranteed allowances of around $285 a month, with the exact sum also linked to age and income.
Previously, benefits were calculated by complex regulations depending on country of origin, where claimants were during the war, when they arrived in Israel, whether they received German government reparations, along with other criteria.