Holocaust survivors protest budget shortage

Survivors gather to protest Treasury's handling of the Holocaust victims budget which reimburses annual medical expenses.

December 2, 2012 20:29
1 minute read.
Holocaust survivors protest budget shortage

Holocaust protest 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)

Holocaust survivors gathered in front of the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on Sunday morning to protest the Treasury’s handling of the budget allocated to the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, which reimburses survivors’ annual medical expenses.

Last month, the foundation had announced the suspension of financial benefits survivors can receive for their medical needs for the 2012 year due to an overflow of requests and a shortage in the budget allocated to the foundation by the Finance Ministry.

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According to Omri Harush, spokesman of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, 9,100 applications were responded to in 2012. Since the suspension of the aid, 6,000 applications, which have already been approved by the foundation, remain unanswered because of the financial shortage.

“It’s a question of another NIS 25 million missing in order to satisfy those 6,000 applications for this year’s medical expenses,” he added, “In terms of the Treasury’s budgets, it’s really not much money.”

“We can’t tell Holocaust survivors to buy glasses or even diapers that they sometimes need, next year,” Harush added.

The Finance Ministry wrote a statement on the issue last month saying that “the ministry financially supports various public institutions which provide assistance for Holocaust survivors socially, economically and medically. The foundation, like others, is however independent in terms of how it distributes its money.

“It needs to plan its operations by considering the amount of the support and providing assistance to all those entitled to it,” the ministry wrote.

“This is not the first time it has happened,” a source within the ministry told The Jerusalem Post in November.

“It got better though, because previously, they used to run out of money by April, this years it’s November. The bottom line is they really need to know how to manage their budget.”

During the demonstration in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, participants held signs that said: “I also vote in January” and “Because tomorrow will already be too late.”

Meanwhile, another group of Holocaust survivors affiliated with the foundation protested the issue in Tel Aviv, in front of government offices.

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