Government to increase aid to Holocaust Survivors

Ministers approve amendment to Holocaust Survivors Benefits Law to maximize benefits, improve welfare of survivors.

By
November 12, 2013 17:12
1 minute read.
Holocaust survivors in Israel [illustrative]

Holocaust survivors in Israel_311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has approved an amendment to the Holocaust Survivors Benefits Law aimed at increasing government aid to survivors and helping them maximize their benefits.

The amendment, which was submitted by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Minister of Welfare and Social Services Meir Cohen, both of Yesh Atid, along with other MKs, includes two major aid measures.

The first states that all eligible Holocaust survivors are to receive an annual grant of some NIS 4,600. Until now the grant had been provided only as an income supplement. This modification, expected to cost some NIS 60 million a year, will benefit an estimated 12,000 people.

The second says that survivors will now be able to convert service vouchers into equivalent sums of money that can be put directly into their bank accounts.

According to the Treasury, the amendment joins a series of initiatives recently advanced by Lapid with the goal of improving the welfare of Holocaust survivors. The total cost of the aid measures is estimated at some NIS 100m. a year over a period of five years.

Among the steps that have been taken so far is a tax refund averaging about NIS 350 a year, per person, for the purchase of electrical appliances; free legal consultations for survivors to maximize their rights to benefits; and an increase in the percentage of survivors eligible for disability benefits.

“The coming years are the last years during which we can fix and ease the situation for Holocaust survivors,” Lapid said in a statement. “The number of survivors who live among us is declining every day. We have a moral obligation toward them, and my mission is to make the last years of their lives a little better.”

Yesh Atid MK Yifat Kariv said the amendment constituted “another step that joins the steps already initiated to improve the situation of Holocaust survivors living in Israel.”

She was among its initiators.

“In recent months we’ve seen unprecedented administrative work regarding the situation of Holocaust survivors living in Israel by the finance minister, welfare and social affairs minister and teams established to deal with the subject,” Kariv said. “There is more work ahead and we will continue to find ways to improve the situation.”

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