"I am happy that the government, under my leadership, did something for the survivors," Olmert said during the opening ceremony of a center for Holocaust survivors in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim, staffed by experts and counselors to advise survivors on their rights.
As the Gil Pensioners' Party did not receive the necessary percentage of voters in order to gain representation in the next Knesset, Olmert said, "I am sorry that the Ministry for Pensioners' Affairs will not longer exist. I hope that our initiatives will continue on and that the director general of the Prime Minister's Office will, like Raanan Dinur, place a lot of weight on the subject."
"Holocaust survivors are not young, and we thought of ways to bring to their attention information on their rights. Whoever is entitled will be able to receive information, such that we will be able to access all those who are entitled to these rights and to feel as though we have done something," the prime minister continued.
One of the survivors complained to Olmert that she suffers from severe dental problems. Olmert wished her a speedy recovery and said, "We are trying to help. I hope you get better. It turns out that the people of Israel thought about you."
Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog added, "The current administration took this issue from other governments who hadn't given it any attention. This is an important step for Holocaust survivors. This way, they can know what they deserve."
Minister for Pensioners' Affairs Rafi Eitan said, "I hope the next administration will develop what we have done."
The center in Givatayim was established through the implementation of a special aid program for survivors. A campaign will be launched Sunday under the slogan: "Making a social and historical step."
Holocaust survivors and their relatives are invited to telephone the center at *9444