NGO reviews Holocaust survivors' services

NGO Aviv publishes a report reviewing changes made to survivors’ services in 2012 in honor of Int'l Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Holocaust survivors 521 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Holocaust survivors 521
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, the NGO Aviv for Holocaust survivors published a report reviewing changes made to survivors’ services for the year 2012.
As the organization states in the report, while some of the changes benefited survivors’ rights, others had a negative impact on them.
Amongst this year’s positive changes in the field, Aviv mentions the Finance Ministry’s Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority which changed the terminology describing the financial grant for survivors that it provides. In the past, the grant was described as dedicated to “the needy.”
According to the NGO, many survivors saw the name as offensive, which even prevented some from applying for the financial aid. In the past year, the authority changed the term and calls recipients of the sum individuals “eligible for compensation according to income.”
In addition, the report states that more organizations started special programs to help Holocaust survivors in 2012. This includes projects undertaken by Yad Sarah, Refua Vesimcha, the Foundation Optical Center as well as Latet’s Aid for Life program, an initiative by Bank Leumi and another one by MADA.
On the list of negative steps taken this year, the organization includes the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets, which unexpectedly cut down its grants for disadvantaged survivors by 20 percent this year.
The report also mentions that governmental bodies have left many Holocaust survivors hanging this year, according to the NGO, as they filed requests for longterm medical treatment.
Many of them died before ever receiving an answer.
Lastly, the list includes The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors, which in November suspended the financial benefits it annually provides survivors for their medical needs, due to an overflow of requests and a shortage in the allocated budget.
This step, Aviv writes, caused “damage to poor Holocaust survivors who struggle to meet basic medical expenses.”
The Foundation will now have to cut survivors’ nursing services due to budget, according to a Ynet report released on Sunday afternoon.
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene in order to prevent the cuts on Sunday evening.
“The budget deficit must not come at the expense of the welfare of Holocaust survivors,” Gilon said.
“This is the minimum that Israel can and must do for those who went through the Nazi horrors just because they are Jews. I believe that this important issue should be placed on your desk and get immediate response,” he continued.
Aviv stressed the importance of the review explaining that it will “help maintain the rights of Holocaust survivors and pay attention to the areas where care and assistance to survivors are still lacking.”
Some 183,000 survivors lived in Israel in 2012. About 30 of them die each day, according to the organization, which since its establishment in 2007, has trained some 7,000 volunteers to provide daily assistance to 65,000 Holocaust survivors across the country.