Gov't Holocaust foundation looks abroad for funds

Exclusive: "This is a chance for everyone to help Holocaust survivors because in a few years there will be none left," says chairman.

Holocaust Survivors 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Holocaust Survivors 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For the first time in its 16- year history, the government funded Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors in Israel is attempting to seek financial support from Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the world, The Jerusalem Post was informed Monday.
In an exclusive interview, (Res. General) Elazar Stern, chairman of the foundation’s board, said that there was no choice but to start fundraising in the international arena.
“This is a chance for everyone to help Holocaust survivors because in a few years there will be none left and then we will be asking ourselves if we really did enough for them,” said Stern, adding that raising more funds for survivors would enable the foundation to increase its programs for the community and improve resources.
The foundation currently receives 40 percent of its budget from the government and the rest from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Most of that money goes towards home care for the survivors.
The State of Israel is doing all it can to support survivors, commented Stern, highlighting “we are not trying to raise money for food or medicine but more for programs that will afford them respect and honor in their old age.”
According to the organization, there are approximately 207,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today. It is estimated that 50,000 of those are under the poverty line and close to 35 survivors die each day. Roughly 60 percent of the survivors are Soviet immigrants from the 1990s and are therefore not eligible for certain specific pension funds aimed at helping survivors financially.

“Our foundation was created by survivors who until now said they would not be beggars looking to the outside to give them money,” commented the foundation’s CEO (Res.Colonel) Rony Kalinsky.
He added: “We are of course concerned that bringing in outside funders will mean that the government or the Claims Conference will reduce their contribution instead of increasing them but despite that fear we have no choice but to look outside.”
Kalinsky said that a fundraising director, Maya Neiger, had already been appointed and that in the near future a fundraising team would be assembled.
“We are optimistic that the world Jewish community is interested in helping survivors,” added Kalinsky. “Most people realize this is their last chance to really do something for them.”