Shoah survivors to hold protest march

J'lem "March of the Living" comes after PM fails to meet with survivor groups.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Holocaust survivors are set to hold a "March of the Living" protest in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon over the government's failure to sufficiently raise their benefits. The decision to hold the march came after representatives of Holocaust survivor groups decided to present Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with an ultimatum in hope of raising the allowance allocated to survivors. Chairman of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, Ze'ev Factor, had announced that the protest march would be held unless Olmert officially announced the cancellation of a decision he made regarding the allocation and met with the survivors to discuss further action. Since neither the cancellation nor the meeting took place the march was scheduled to go ahead as planned. The survivors are set to march from the Knesset to the Prime Minister's Office. The planned protest comes despite the fact that the government's initial proposal to provide a mere additional NIS 83 a month to survivors was discarded Thursday night during a meeting between heads of Holocaust survivors' organizations and government representatives. The two sides agreed to hold expedited negotiations to find a solution to the survivors' predicament. Thursday night's two-hour meeting at the Prime Minister's Office was attended by Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan, the PMO director-general Ra'anan Dinur, Welfare and Social Services Ministry director-general Nachum Itzkovitz and members of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel (COHSI). After the talks, the two sides vowed to work together to resolve the issue of benefits for survivors. Olmert is scheduled to meet with representatives of Holocaust survivor groups on Wednesday. Meanwhile, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is expected to release a very critical report within the next few days calling on the government to improve the way it treats survivors.