Shoah survivors bash Olmert proposal

'We feel the government is just waiting for us to die out'

holocaust survivor 298.8 (photo credit: GPO [file])
holocaust survivor 298.8
(photo credit: GPO [file])
Holocaust survivor organization heads on Wednesday rejected the government stipend granting a monthly allowance of NIS 83 to 120,000 survivors, and called upon all organizations, survivors and their families to join their protest entitled "March of the Living," planned for Sunday. "What we are asking for is what the government should have provided 60 years ago," said Zeev Faktor, chairman of the Holocaust Survivors Welfare Fund, at an emergency meeting convened by survivor organizations on Wednesday in Tel Aviv. "We have been waiting far too long and we feel that the government is just waiting for us to die out." During the emergency meeting, officials from the Prime Minister's Office contacted representatives of the Holocaust survivor groups to request another meeting, which was said to be taking place on Wednesday evening, but was then postponed until further notice. The march is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, starting from the Knesset and ending with a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's Office. Under the terms of the government's decision which was announced on Monday, NIS 120 million will be allocated for the allowances in 2008, NIS 240m. in 2009, and more than NIS 300m. in 2011, at which point the monthly payment will be NIS 520 per couple. "We are the last of the survivors, but it seems as though the government considers us a burden and is waiting for a biological solution," said survivor Ruth Tatarko. "The prime minister offered us a NIS 80 tip; the shame is painful." Noah Frug, chairman of the Consortium of Holocaust Survivors' Organizations, declared that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal was unacceptable. "We cannot accept such an offer when in 2011 half of us will already be dead." Shmuel Reynes, chairman of the Association of Romanian Olim in Haifa, said that according to statistics, 35 Holocaust survivors died every day. "The government's offer will be effective only from the beginning of 2008. Until then the burden for the government will be lighter - this is how absurd this offer is." Natan Dor, chairman of Amcha, which provides a variety of services to survivors, said during the meeting that once again Holocaust survivors were being humiliated but this time in their own country. "I am not looking for respect; I just want to live without hunger and shame, in dignity and without the need to ask for charity," he said. Representatives of the Holocaust survivors' organizations threatened to inform the German government about the way Israel was treating survivors, and on how the funds which were transferred by Germany to the Israeli government were being used.