Knesset caucus on Holocaust survivors 370.
(photo credit: MK Yifat Kariv's Office)
The government must do more to take care of the few living Holocaust survivors
as soon as possible, the Knesset Caucus for Holocaust Survivors said in a
Much of the conference, which took place at the
Knesset, focused on the many survivors the government does not recognize nor
receive state benefits.
Welfare Minister Meir Cohen called it an
“embarrassment” that there is a discrepancy of tens of thousands in the numbers
his ministry and the Finance Ministry have for living survivors.
does not suit the Jewish state that the survivors so wanted to reach. We’ll
change the rules of the game and give them respect,” he said.
called for the government offices and NGOs dealing with survivors to create one
Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy said that Finance
Minister Yair Lapid sees helping Holocaust survivors as his personal
responsibility, pointing out that the first thing he did in office was create a
NIS 50 million fund for them.
“The problem with this issue is that
everyone agrees on it, so when push comes to shove, [no one is passionate
enough] and it doesn’t get taken care of,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
lamented. “I hope this caucus, and Knesset committees and government offices
will be able to give a green light to all of the aid
Education Minister Shai Piron read aloud a text message
from his mother, who saw him listing names of relatives slain by the Nazis in
the official Knesset Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony earlier
The message mentioned a living relative who survived the
Holocaust, doesn’t have children, and feels alone.
“It cannot be that in
the State of Israel a Holocaust survivor can feel there is no one in the world
behind her, helping her,” Piron said.
Piron also pointed to the
importance of teaching youth about the Holocaust.
“Young people need to
be a mouthpiece for survivors. It is their responsibility to continue telling
the stories of survivors and turn them into a legacy,” he
Pensioners’ Affairs Minister Uri Orbach mentioned the counting of
the Omer that takes place in the days between Passover and Shavuot, explaining
that during those days, observant Jews are in mourning as a result of Rabbi
Akiva’s students disrespecting each other.
“We need to respect these
survivors,” he said. “Pensioners’ Affairs is a small ministry, but we only deal
with pensioners, so I will lead the effort and do all I can with good will and
MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid), who organized the conference
together with MKs Elazar Stern (Hatnua) and Dov Henin (Hadash), called it a
“moral imperative to make sure there is not one Holocaust survivor in the State
of Israel who is unable to live in a worthy, dignified way.”
pointed to increased media coverage of the treatment of Holocaust survivors and
expressed hope that calls to help will continue to get them attention.