Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On resolved on Monday to adopt the recommendations of the Dorner Committee report, which examined the government's faulty handling of Israel's population of Holocaust survivors for many years.
Among other things, the two agreed to increase the survivors' pensions according to the committee's suggestion. The funds will be paid out retroactively from the beginning of 2008, marking a significant change for 40,000 Holocaust survivors.
According to the agreement, the standard survivor pension will constitute 75% of the pension paid according to German law, an increase of about NIS 250 million ($70 million) in addition to the NIS 500 million (!1.7 billion) increase approved by the government in November of 2007.
The increase in funds is still pending a final approval by the government, and will be brought to a vote during the next weekly meeting. The ministers will also be asked to approve the establishment of a committee that will oversee the handing out of funds, guaranteeing that they will be channeled in the manner most beneficial to the survivors.
Retired Judge Dalia Dorner told Ynet she was pleased with the prime minister's decision. "With this decision we, as a nation, have managed to amend the injustice done to the Holocaust survivors just in time. These same survivors built this country but in the end remained on the outskirts of society, having to choose between a slice of bread and medication, and this demeans us as a nation."
Over the past several weeks fears have arisen as to the implementation of the Dorner report's recommendations, expected to suffer a delay due to financial difficulties. Judge Dorner urged that the issue remain on the public agenda, and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that the survivors' pensions be increased according to the report.
The movement claimed that the government was hindering the implementation of the report's recommendations and acting with extreme imprudence while violating its legal commitment towards the survivors, which it had taken on itself as part of the reparation agreement with Germany.