The heads of Israel’s Holocaust survivor organizations rejected on Wednesday the government’s proposal to allocate NIS 130 million ($30 million) in financial assistance to survivors in 2008.
According to the plan, the figure will be almost doubled to NIS 205 million ($47 million) in 2009 and NIS 300 million ($69 million) a year later.
“The government has no interest in you; it acted out of pity, and all we got was NIS 83 ($19) a month,” said Alex Orly, deputy chairman of the Center of Holocaust Survivors in Israel during an emergency meeting of 45 heads of Holocaust survivor groups.
The representatives decided to work toward scheduling a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in order to reach a “reasonable agreement”. The Prime Minister’s Office said Olmert had already agreed to hold a meeting.
'I want to live without hunger'
Survivor Ruth Tatarko told those on hand that she was insulted upon hearing of the proposed allowance.
“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,” she said. “The prime minister offered a NIS 80 tip – the shame is painful.”
Tatarko later told Ynet that should she receive the allowance she would “wipe it on the prime minister’s face”, adding that the proposal “deeply offended and enraged” her.
Natan Dor, chairman of Amcha (the code word that helped survivors identify fellow Jews in war ravaged Europe), said during the meeting “we are being humiliated once again in our own country.
“I am not looking for respect, I just want to live without hunger, shame or the need to ask for charity,” he said.
“Mr prime minister, don’t humiliate us – that (the Holocaust) was there, but it should not happen here.”