(photo credit: ru.jpost)
Many Holocaust survivors have not yet received the monthly stipends assured them by a November 2009 High Court of Justice decision, according to a nonprofit organization that works with them.
The decision stipulated that survivors who were held in prisons in Bulgaria and Romania during the Holocaust counted as Holocaust survivors by law, and were entitled to stipends from the Finance Ministry’s Holocaust Survivors Benefits Authority.
Yet, according to Aviv Lenitzoley Shoah, a group of lawyers and volunteers working to ensure that survivors receive the benefits to which they are entitled, many have yet to receive the stipends, five months after the decision.
David Nissim, a blind survivor living in Nahariya, currently lives a hand-to-mouth existence on a National Insurance Institute stipend, waiting for the NIS 1,822 monthly allotment he is entitled to as a survivor of the war in Romania.
Aviv volunteer Shimon Halperin obtained for Nissim an NIS 4,000 grant for medical expenses and filed a request to the Finance Ministry to be recognized as a survivor.
Yet, despite the High Court ruling from November, he, like many others, has yet to receive the benefits, according to Aviv.
In response to a Jerusalem Post query, the Finance Ministry promised that Nissim’s case “is being processed, and an answer [regarding formal recognition as a Holocaust survivor] will be given within the month.”
According to the ministry, it is currently examining “more than 4,000
requests that were submitted in the wake of the High Court decision,
and many dozens have already received a positive response to their
request [for recognition].”
Aviv said cases such as Nissim’s are common. Many survivors miss out on
thousands of shekels in benefits because they are unfamiliar with the
myriad of organizations that offer these benefits.
No single body coordinates the disparate groups, which include various
agencies of the Israeli government, the German government, the New
York-based Claims Conference, the Tel Aviv-based Foundation for the
Welfare of Holocaust Victims in Israel, and others.
Aviv, headed by attorney Aviva Silberman and staffed almost entirely by
volunteer advisers, can be reached at their Web site www.avivshoa.co.il.