The government has secured an extra NIS 20 million in annual payments for Holocaust survivors living in Israel following negotiations with the German Finance Ministry. The cabinet approved the agreement on Sunday.
Some 3,700 Holocaust survivors who receive pensions from the German government will be eligible for the increased payments. The negotiations were conducted by the Social Equality and Pensioners Ministry and the Authority for the Rights of Holocaust Survivors.
All those eligible for German pensions will receive an extra €100 per month, about NIS 373 according to the current exchange rate, which would be around NIS 4,470 a year.
In addition, another €500,000 will be distributed annually to Holocaust survivors suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitively degenerative disorders.
The Authority for the Rights of Holocaust Survivors had asked the German government for additional support because of economic and mental-health hardships suffered by survivors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The experience of lockdowns within four walls that we all experienced during the coronavirus period opened old wounds for many Holocaust survivors, who experienced lockdown and social isolation as children during the Holocaust,” Social Equality and Pensioners Minister Meirav Cohen said. “In order to assist in the mental-health treatment of those old wounds, and in light of the deteriorating economic situation of elderly Holocaust survivors as a result of the coronavirus crisis, we were able to obtain the assistance of the German government and get additional funds through the cooperation that exists between the governments, and I give my thanks and appreciation to the German government for that.”
The increased German assistance is in addition to an extra NIS 300m. the current government has added to the state budget for the welfare of Holocaust survivors, as well as an increase of NIS 1.5 billion for income support, which Holocaust survivors whose monthly income falls below certain levels will be able to claim, she said.
“We will work day and night so that the elderly in Israel, in general, and Holocaust survivors, specifically, can live in the dignity they deserve,” Cohen said.