Our moral obligation

We cannot - we must not - remain silent.

A Holocaust survivor shows his prisoner number tattooed on his arm, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Holocaust survivor shows his prisoner number tattooed on his arm, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the Book of Psalms we read: "Do not cast me off in the time of my old age. Do not leave me when my strength is gone." This beautiful and humbling request -- which we, young and old, make of God -- should serve us all as our guiding moral compass as we deal with aging Holocaust survivors. It is our duty. It is our moral obligation. It is holy work.
At the Israeli Government's decision, the Ministry for Senior Citizens has, since its inception last decade, been actively working towards the restitution of property of Holocaust survivors.
With various programs, we try and assist the survivors not only with their material needs, but also we recognize the importance of easy access to information on assistance for elderly Holocaust survivors.
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 These people, who have undergone untold horrors, are a vital part of our society.
We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves. And this means being open in everything we do.
As all of us know all too well, the number of Holocaust survivors who are with us continues to fall, and many of the elderly survivors today are in need of some help from us to live in dignity.
The needs of survivors have to be at the forefront of our concerns.
It is critical that we all work together to make sure that all the survivors live in respectability.
This is my pledge. This is our pledge.
Today especially, at a time when we are witness to increasing anti-Semitism throughout the streets of Europe, it is critical that we not forget what happened in these very countries just 70 years ago.
In fact, many of these same European countries are today supporting a boycott of the State of Israel over its very existence.
We cannot -- we must not -- remain silent.
This is our responsibility to the last of the survivors. We are determined to stand up for them and for their rights.
We have made progress but there is still work to do.
The Israeli Government should work to include some form of restitution – or compensation – of Jewish property from Arab countries.
We must fight bureaucracy and cut through the red tape.
We must not allow the survivors to face unnecessary difficulties.
It is truly the eleventh hour.
The writer is the Minister for Senior Citizens.