Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz 370.
(photo credit: reuters)
Control over the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority will be transferred from
the Finance Ministry to the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, Finance
Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare Minister Meir Cohen announced on
The Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority is responsible for
providing monthly payments, medical treatments, rehabilitation and welfare
services to Holocaust survivors.
Speaking to members of the Knesset State
Control Committee during a session attended by representatives of Israel’s
survivor community, Lapid explained that the move was intended to “bring
together all bodies dealing with Holocaust survivors under one
Nothing for survivors will change, Lapid said. The physical
locations of offices, phone numbers and fax lines will all stay the same, he
The Finance Ministry also announced several new benefits that will
be granted to survivors, including that they will no longer be required to
present receipts for electronic devices to receive a tax refund, and their
disability levels will no longer be rounded up to the nearest percentage point,
granting them higher benefits.
Earlier this month, Lapid signed orders to
add NIS 50 million to the annual payouts, starting immediately.
updated allotments categories include basic survivor payments, the budget for
special benefits such as those with a social dimension, and benefits for
partners of deceased survivors.
Lapid said that while he understood the
anxiety of the country’s approximately 170,000 survivors over the transfer of
authority, there is scant time to help the remaining survivors.
have not done a good enough job in treating survivors of the Holocaust,” changes
must be made, he said.
“If the reality is not good, you need to change
it.” The government is in the process of streamlining aid to survivors, he said,
by compiling a consolidated list of survivors.
But some survivors
expressed their dismay with Lapid’s move.
According to Uri Chanoch, 86,
the vice chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in
Israel, moving the authority is a “very bad decision.”
survivors will be made to feel stigmatized by having to deal with the welfare
office. While there have always been issues with how the government has handled
payments to survivors, he said, things have improved greatly over the previous
Chanoch said that every minister wants to put his imprint on
projects under his authority and that there would be an increase in paperwork
and changes in personnel under Lapid and Cohen’s plan.
For the survivors,
he said, it is “so complicated.”
“The state is giving more money, they
have good relations with us, they are trying to do their best,” he said. “So why
break it? You say you want everything under one roof? Make it under the roof of
the Finance Ministry.”Niv Elis contributed to this report.