Rita Berkowitz, a Holocaust survivor and winner of a beauty contest for survivors of the Nazi genocide.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
A law increasing state benefits for Holocaust survivors receiving guaranteed monthly income passed a final vote in the Knesset on Monday night.
There are approximately 15,000 Holocaust survivors who arrived in Israel after 1953, and receive 960 Euros per quarter from Germany. Of those, 6,000 receive a guaranteed monthly income of NIS 2,200 from the government, among other benefits, but the sum from Germany is subtracted from it.
The new law, proposed by MKs Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) and Dov Henin (Joint List), changes the policy so that the benefit from Germany does not count against the Israeli state income.
As a result, the 6,000 Holocaust survivors falling under the law’s purview will receive an extra NIS 1,200, at a cost to the government of NIS 7.2m. per month.
“This is an important law that is meant to allow Holocaust survivors to live with minimum dignity,” Ploskov said.
Henin said the law fixes one injustice, and he hopes many more will be reversed.
Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver presented the government’s position on the bill, and said she is very excited and pleased to see it pass.
“I remember standing before Holocaust survivors with tears in my eyes, and asked MKs to support this law,” Landver stated.
“The payment from Germany cannot be considered income. The State of Israel cannot make money at the expense of Holocaust survivors.”
The law passed in a third and final reading with 70 MKs in favor and none opposed.