(photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
The Yedid community empowerment organization and Tel Aviv's Academy of Commercial Communications copywriting school are joining Holocaust survivor groups in their fight to help the estimated 120,000 Israeli survivors who live in poverty.
On Sunday, the two NGOs will embark on a campaign calling on the government to help Shoah survivors to live in dignity.
Also on Sunday, a "March of the Living" will be held to protest Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision this week to provide an additional NIS 83 a month to needy survivors. The protest will begin outside the Knesset at 4:30 p.m. and head to the Prime Minister's Office nearby. Several other events are planned across the country, with the help of Yedid's 24 branches.
Yedid deputy director Ran Melamed, told The Jerusalem Post: "The campaign intends to offer support to the 25 Holocaust survivor organizations in their struggle for a better life and a dignified old age. We don't want this campaign to steal the focus from them. They are the real issue here and every Israeli should join this battle.
"We urge anyone who can to come to Jerusalem and we have arranged buses for those who want to [come]. But those who can't come can join the effort in their cities."
The posters and slogans that were designed and produced by students at the Academy of Commercial Communications will be used across the country and by Jewish groups and supporters of Israel in North America.
"All of our students' final projects deal with our society's social problems, which publicity usually doesn't reach. They worked on this project for two and a half months, as well as on other issues, and I think they managed to capture the tragedy of the situation when Holocaust survivors live out their the end of their lives under shameful conditions," said Tirtza Grannot, the academy's director.
One of the academy's students, Eran Erlich, created several posters. One shows a Holocaust survivor suffering from poverty and reads: "We have shown respect for the dead ones... why don't we respect the living? Pension for the Holocaust survivors now!"
Another poster shows a happy former SS officer. The caption beneath his face tells how Germany provides these people with generous pensions and continues: "If the Germans Can, We also must!"
These posters and others will be delivered all over the country and overseas as a part of the campaign.
A Knesset bill initiated by Yedid and sponsored led by MK Colette Avital (Labor) will be brought to a preliminary reading when the legislature returns from recess. "The bill says that any Holocaust survivor, no matter where they came from or when and how much they suffered compared with other Holocaust survivors - as other laws say - will receive a monthly allowance of NIS 2,000 if their income is below NIS 4,000," said Melamed. "We thought it is about time to stop the legislation of so many laws for so many different types of Holocaust survivors and to stop the unequal treatment they are receiving."
Many people have joined this fight, donating toward the printing costs, driving volunteers and providing catering services.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is expected to release a very critical report within the next few days calling on the government to improve the way it treats Holocaust survivors.