The Knesset approved on Wednesday the second and third (final) readings of a bill to amend the Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets Law.
The measure sets the end of the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets’ operations as December 31, 2017, as opposed to 2021, as previously stipulated in the law.
The new law also calls for an increase in aid to Holocaust survivors from NIS 100 million to NIS 135m. annually.
In 2015, the amount will rise to NIS 150m. The justice minister with the consultation of the finance minister and the approval of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice committee can raise this sum further.
The company will transfer 75 percent of funds directly to the bank accounts of Holocaust survivors.
“Apart from increasing the amount of aid and improving the conditions of the survivors, we have increased the amount that will go directly into the accounts of survivors, who can use this money however they see fit, and allow them to live a much better life,” MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) said.
The legislation is also meant to facilitate the operations of the company to locate heirs and return their assets by allowing access to documents from the Population Registry.
Furthermore, any assets owned by the company that remain unclaimed at the end of 2017 will be used to aid Holocaust survivors and will be transferred to an executor.
The bill was proposed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and combined with two proposals by MK Eliezer Stern (Hatnua) and Michaeli. The Knesset plenum approved the bill with 24 votes and no opposition in the second reading, and 27 votes without opposition in the third reading.
“Despite the unquestionable importance of locating assets of Holocaust victims and transferring them to their heirs, there is also a clear obligation to assist survivors still living among us.
This is a solution formulated with the purpose of achieving these two goals, accomplished with the collaboration of all government ministries, and it constitutes a just and balanced layout,” said Livni.