Panel: Israeli survivors owed NIS 2m. each

Report finds Holocaust survivors in Israel receiving about 50% less than those who live in Germany.

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Israeli governments have long discriminated against Holocaust survivors living in the Jewish state, and has underpaid each survivor by about NIS 2 million over the years, a state commission of inquiry said in a report released on Sunday. The panel, which was headed by former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, found that Holocaust survivors living in Israel were receiving about 50 percent less than those who live in Germany. A reparations agreement reached with Germany in 1952 stipulated that Israel would look after the survivors here, who would not be permitted to sue Germany directly. "The governments of Israel over the generations did not properly care for Holocaust survivors," Dorner said. Dorner said the mere fact that such a commission needed to be created 60 years after the state's establishment was a sad state of affairs. "A commission like this should have never been created; [fair] treatment of Holocaust survivors should have been obvious," she said. The commission recommended that the state grant survivors not entitled to German reparations stipends equalling at least 75 percent of those paid out by Germany. "This is a human injustice, a public injustice and a national injustice," said State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. "The report speaks for itself and has both symbolic and practical value," the umbrella organization for Holocaust survivors in Israel said in a statement Sunday. "The report brings to an end a long journey in the struggle for the rights of survivors in their twilight years." About 250,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel, nearly one-third in poverty.