According to agreements between the Treasury and the foundation, the foundation has so far been hiring nursing professionals to assist survivors. Over the past year, the foundation transferred NIS 370 million (about $100 million) towards nursing hours for some 23,000 Holocaust survivors, from a budget partly supported by the Finance Ministry.
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Budgetary shortages, however, mainly caused by an increase in the costs of companies offering nursing services, are now threatening to cut nursing hours for some 5,000 survivors with disabilities.
"The foundation has been warning the Treasury that the increase in the number of survivors in need of nursing services will unfortunately force us to cut back," foundation chairman Rony Kalinsky told Ynet.
Kalinsky stressed that "This year, the foundation will work to promote legislation that will update the budgets for the survivors."
Former Social Affairs Minister MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) told Ynet: "It's overwhelming to see all this blindness and insensitivity; cuts that severely harm thousands of Holocaust survivors.
"Nurses' house calls (are a life or death matter) for them," the former minister added. "The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims and the Finance Ministry must come up with a solution that will overturn this awful outcome."
According to Aviva Silverman, chairwoman of the Aviv committee for the protection of Holocaust survivors' rights, "For many survivors, nursing hours are the only way to achieve any daily routine. For others, the connection with the nurses is their only contact with the outside world."
"These cuts are causing damage to survivors who are in the most severe situations," Silverman insisted.
The Finance Ministry has yet to comment on the matter.
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