Knesset gives initial approval to more aid for needy Holocaust survivors

MK Merav Michaeli's bill doubles the funding Hashava spends on aiding needy survivors to a minimum of NIS 200 million per year.

Merav Michaeli 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
Merav Michaeli 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
A bill to increase assistance to needy Holocaust survivors passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday, with 43 MKs in favor and none opposed.
The legislation, proposed by MK Merav Michaeli (Labor), would double the funding Hashava – The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets spends on aiding survivors to a minimum of NIS 200 million per year.
“Israel deals more with the myth of the Holocaust, the trauma. Our emphasis is always on our enemies and not on our lives,” Michaeli said, presenting the bill in the plenum.
“The survivors were witnesses to the trauma. Look them in the eyes and give them the life they deserve.”
At least 80% of the money will go directly to survivors, rather than to companies or NGOs that would provide them with goods, saving overhead costs.
According to Michaeli, “since its establishment, Hashava has had a conflict of interest, increasing overhead costs while inefficiently using funds at the expense of the survivors and their inheritors.
In light of the large amounts of money [Hashava] has, and since the number of survivors decreases each year, it should immediately increase the aid funds and ensure that it directly reaches the survivors while protecting their rights and dignity.”
Hashava was founded in 2005 and has located NIS 1.65 billion in assets that belonged to victims and their families, but by the end of 2012, only 3 percent was transferred to heirs.