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MKs move to break cycle of poverty among Holocaust survivors
In an effort to alleviate the impoverished conditions of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel after 1953, lawmakers announce bill proposal to increase financial benefits; 'The law cannot wait any longer.'
A new piece of legislation designed to provide greater economic benefits to Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel after 1953, in an effort to break a prevailing cycle of poverty, was announced Wednesday.

 

 

The joint legislative proposal is being spearheaded by MKs (Yesh Atid) and Dov Khenin (Joint List) with the aim of significantly increasing the annual financial allowances of post-1953 immigrant survivors.

 

While the annual stipend provided currently stands at 3,600 shekels, the MKs stated that they hoped to provide a boost that would bring the total sum to 12,000 shekels. According to the evaluations, the bill’s implementation would cost the state 650 million shekels each year.

 

Holocaust survivors visit Auschwitz (Photo: AP)
Holocaust survivors visit Auschwitz (Photo: AP)

 

Approximately 78,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in Israel who made aliyah after 1953. As a result of their comparatively late arrival, they were not entitled to a number of right granted to “Disabled Victims of Nazi persecution,” a category which was restricted to those who made aliyah prior to 1953.

 

Those who immigrated to Israel before 1953 also receive a monthly rent allowance of 2,248 shekels. Moreover, a convalescence financial package provided to the pre-1953 immigrants totals 29,000 shekels per year.

 

If the legislation passes in the Knesset, the financial injection would constitute a significant difference in compensation currently awarded by the state.

 

While huge gaps would remain in the sums received by the two groups even if the bill passes, the new legislation seeks to boost the allowance for post-1953 survivors by 1,000 shekels per month, three times the sum they currently receive.

 

MK Elazar Stern (R) during press conference (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
MK Elazar Stern (R) during press conference (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
 

 

MK Stern, who also chairs a lobby group on behalf of Holocaust survivors said during a press conference which took place on Wednesday that “The State of Israel needs to go to the Holocaust survivors and not wait for them to go to the State.”

 

“In the last few years, Israel has taken action for the Holocaust survivors but there are still some who have been left behind and there are those who receive pensions from Germany and their situation has worsened,” he said. “We will have (talk with) the German government in order to demand their rights.”

 

Stern also addressed the likelihood that the proposed bill would pass. “I have received from the Finance Ministry and they have said that there will be news but since then I have been waiting,” he continued. “The bill proposal has already been on paper for a long time, and since then we have wanted the government to decide to pass it with or without my name. But it can’t wait any longer.”

 

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