The government on Sunday approved the relief program for Holocaust survivors and the elderly. "This historic agreement will finally allow Holocaust survivors and Israel's elderly to be free of poverty," Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog told Ynet.
The relief program was brought before the government by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On and Rafi Eitan, minister for pensioner affairs.
Fifteen ministers voted in favor of the program, six abstained and Education Minister Yuli Tamir voted against. The program is said to funnel between $377.54 million to $629.24 million to the two population's welfare.
"This is a revolutionary act. For the past 60 years no one has done anything but talk about this kind of relief program, but this government has taken it upon itself to make it happen," said Olmert.
"Implementing it may call for lateral cutbacks throughout the government, which isn't easy, I know, but we have a debt to theses people," he added.
According to the program, an additional $251.69 million will be allocated to the welfare of all those receiving old age pensions, some 725,581 people, and another $125.8 million will be given to those determined "in dire need".
The money will be funneled through the old age pensions given by the National Insurance Institute.
Minister Rafi Eitan welcomed the government's decision, saying "this decision will make a real difference in many lives."