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Helping Hand

Gaydamak: Reaching out to Holocaust survivors Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman
Gaydamak: Reaching out to Holocaust survivors Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman

Gaydamak pledges to help renovate survivors’ homes

Russian billionaire to donate some $8 million to renovate dilapidated homes of Holocaust survivors. ‘Gov’t will not help, we need donations,’ says CEO of public housing company

Ofer Petersburg
Published: 04.13.08, 10:23 / Israel News

He helped fortify the city of Sderot and sent its residents on much needed vacation from the rocket-battered town. He helped establish a tent city for beleaguered residents of the north during the Second Lebanon War. He funded the establishment of a monument for IDF soldiers who perished during the 1997 helicopter disaster.


Now, according to reports by Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Russian businessman Arcadi Gaydamak is stepping in to aid needy Holocaust survivors.


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Gaydamak announced that he is willing to donate some NIS 30 million ($8.2 million) to help renovate the homes of 2,500 elderly Holocaust survivors, living in dilapidated homes belonging to Amidar housing.


The billionaire stated that he will send representatives to Amidar housing in order to assess the extent and scope of the problem. Sources close to Gaydamak revealed that the businessman was more than enthusiastic to lend a helping hand when he heard that Holocaust survivors were involved.


Amidar housing was shocked by these reports concerning the condition of survivors’ homes, but made no official response. The Ministry of Construction and Housing indicated that it will reassess its funding practices for survivors’ homes.


Yaakov Brosh, CEO of Amidar housing, stated that Gaydamak’s donation will go towards renovating the homes of elderly survivors, most of which are in deplorable condition with mold lining their walls, broken sinks, insecure balconies, and crumbling facades.


“We appealed to the government on numerous occasions but they are utterly unwilling to help,” said Brosh. “They just keep slashing our budget further.” Brosh decided to launch an innovative project and solicit donations from the public to help fix the homes in question, but since Amidar is a government agency it cannot accept private donations. Brosh therefore established a special foundation just to that end.


Amidar housing currently upkeeps 55,000 apartments for the Israeli government, 1,200 of which, located mainly in the periphery, are vacant.


Over 2,500 Israeli families, and 30,000 new immigrants are currently waiting for Amidar housing. “Our budget keep getting cut every single year, however,” laments Brosh. “soon we will have to rely on private organizations to help maintain our homes, because the government sure isn't helping.” 


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