The Lobby for Holocaust Survivors called a special meeting Tuesday, enabling victims a platform on which to voice their complaints.
The lobby was established by Knesset members Colette Avital and Sara Marom Shalev, in order to better the conditions in which Holocaust survivors live, as well as to promote legislation on the issue.
Numerous survivors spoke at the meeting and criticized Israel for what they called its “ruthless, disrespectful policy” towards them.
Lobby meeting on Tuesday (Photo: Yoni Yitzhak)
“Before Holocaust Memorial Day events begin, I call on the finance minister and the prime minister to take responsibility for the shameful condition of the Holocaust survivors, and come to them with news, not just speeches,” Avital said at the meeting.
“While government institutions use the Shoah, its victims, and its survivors to promote national and financial interests, the State is appropriating funds paid to the victims and survivors for itself, and humiliating the survivors.
“It’s about time Israel’s government took responsibility and save the honor of the survivors. The Israeli government – and particularly the finance ministry – must immediately change its offensive attitude towards the few Holocaust survivors living today,” Avital continued.
'I need money to be a grandma'
Miriam Yahav experienced the horrors of the Holocaust as a child, and lived to tell her story at the lobby’s meeting. “I hope this meeting will yield results while we’re still alive. We don’t have a lot of time for talk. Because bureaucracy problems, I haven’t received my rights - the money owed to me by the Germans - for two years.”
“My financial situation isn’t good, and the money from Germany would help me. I need help at home. I need money to buy gifts for my great grandchildren, a gift for my grandson when he gets married.
“I need money to receive guests – to be a grandma the way a grandma should be. I didn’t have a normal childhood, at least let me be a normal grandmother. It isn’t enough that I lived like a dog in Auschwitz, I have to live that way now too. I fell guilty for surviving,” Yahav said.
Avital closed the meeting with a final criticism of the government’s failure to assume responsibility for the hardship suffered by the Shoah survivors, and claimed it was “trampling on” their honor.
“Does the country prefer the victims to die before they receive the funds they deserve?” Avital asked.