Report on survivors to be submitted

Knesset c'tee to review recommendations on how to improve condition of elderly Holocaust survivors.

holocaust survivor 244.8 (photo credit: AP [file])
holocaust survivor 244.8
(photo credit: AP [file])
The State Commission of Inquiry on Holocaust survivors headed by retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner is due to submit its report to the Knesset State Control Committee on Sunday. Dorner has already made clear that the commission will not recommend dismissing anyone or point a finger at any guilty party, but will only make recommendations on how to help the elderly survivors and refugees. On March 23, Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On urged the commission not to further increase the increased grants and subsidies that the government agreed to give Holocaust survivors in August and October 2007. The agreements to increase funding followed a report issued by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss in August 2007 that was highly critical of the treatment of the survivors by Israeli governments over the years. Lindenstrauss wrote that of 250,000 Holocaust survivors and refugees living in Israel, 143,000 did not receive any support from the state or the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (the Claims Conference.) All are elderly and a large number of them are destitute. Altogether, the government agreed to allocate some NIS 2 billion, including NIS 1b. to raise welfare payments for all the elderly in need, whether Holocaust survivors or not, and another NIS 500 million specifically for elderly and needy survivors. In an earlier agreement, reached in August, the government promised to give monthly grants of NIS 1,200 to some 8,500 survivors of the ghettos and Nazi concentration camps who had never received any compensation. On October 29, 2007, the State Control Committee held its first meeting to discuss the State Comptroller's Report. The committee learned that the government had not yet started paying the survivors their stipend. On January 7, it held another meeting and learned that the money had still not been paid. It also learned that the government had failed to keep its promise to pass a law within one month introducing elements of the October agreement. The committee voted four to one to establish a state commission of inquiry whose members would be appointed by the president of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch appointed Dorner to head the commission, which also included Profs. Omer Moav and Ziv Izikovich. Beinisch instructed the commission to investigate and make recommendations on "providing solutions to the special needs of the disabled from Nazi persecution, and Holocaust survivors and refugees." She added that the commission's conclusions should take into account "the conduct of Israeli governments regarding the fulfillment of agreements and the implementation of decisions." The commission held its first meeting on February 5 and questioned its last witness on March 23. Many Holocaust survivors testified before it. Dorner originally said she would present the report during Pessah. However, disagreements among the commission members and technical problems delayed the report until now.