a holocaust survivor wears a yellow Star of David on his jacket during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is home to some 200,000 Holocaust survivors, and some 45,000 of them live below the poverty line. As concern over caring for this aging population increases, the likelihood survivors will be aware of their full benefits and compensation decreases.
An ongoing study conducted by the NGO “Aviv for Holocaust Survivors” tracked the overall monetary compensation received since February by a group of some 4,300 such survivors.
A report released last week by the group revealed that 88% of these individuals were entitled to NIS 156 million in financial benefits. That represents an average of NIS 56,000 per survivor to which many potential recipients were not aware they were entitled.
The study was conducted in what the group calls “Community Entitlement Centers.” The purpose of these centers is to provide free consultation services to Holocaust survivors and their family members in order to assist them in accessing their lawful rights. Survivors can also receive personal and professional assistance and guidance in the centers, which are located across the country.
Aviv for Holocaust Survivors CEO Aviva Silberman said in a statement last week: “Most Holocaust survivors are unaware of the rights and benefits that can significantly improve their situation and can be the difference between poverty and a life with dignity and well-being. The fact that 88% of the participants in this project were eligible for benefits only reinforces this notion.”
“These monetary benefits are coming from a variety of sources, not just from Israel but from their home countries, where Germany, in particular is obligated to financially compensate German Holocaust survivors,” Silberman told The Jerusalem Post
. “And because there are so many benefits and because everybody wants to help care for our aging Holocaust survivor population
, there are a lot of updates and many changes that many are not aware of the changes.
“So they end up not taking advantage at all. This could mean the difference between getting NIS 3,000 a month to NIS 7,000. This will change their lives: This is not about charity; this is what they are entitled to,” Silberman said.