A Holocaust survivor shows his prisoner number tattooed on his arm, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the High Court of Justice effectively ordered the incoming government on Tuesday to find a way by October 15 to provide financial aid to survivors who still lack state support.
While the six-month deadline seems like an extended delay, Deputy Supreme Court President Elyakim Rubinstein made an impassioned plea, stating that the court was issuing the order “at the time on the calendar year which reminds us not only of those who died in the Holocaust, but also those still with us, who should live long lives.”
Justices Salim Joubran and Daphna Barak-Erez joined Rubinstein in the decision.
In an earlier hearing on the issue, the justices expressed sympathy for the petitioning Holocaust survivors, but also appeared to throw up their hands in frustration, believing they lacked the judicial power to compel the Knesset to act on the issue.
Despite these doubts, which the court mentioned again in its decision, Rubinstein said the court would not take the easy way out and sweep the issue under the rug. Rather, he said, the Justice Ministry must bring the issue directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the future finance minister and other relevant ministers, to find a solution.
Rubinstein implied that even if the High Court was skating on thin ice legally, the issue was so important morally that it would use all the weight and public attention it could generate to get the state to act.
If the state has not addressed the issue by October 15, the court said, it may consider issuing a stronger order.