Orphans who lost both of their parents in acts of terror before the year 2000 will receive from the State a one-time grant of NIS 550,000 (about $160,745) each, in addition to an increased monthly allowance at a sum equal to that received by Israel Defense Forces widows.
These orphans were not entitled to compensation according to the Compensation for Victims of Hostilities Law, which has not been applied retroactively.
The one-time compensation is meant to cover at least some of the allowances they have not been eligible for so far. Those who lost both their parents in attacks from 2000 and have been receiving a small monthly allowance of about NIS 3,000 ($875) will now get a sum equal to that received by an IDF widow.
The monthly allowance will be increased in an amendment to the law initiated by Knesset Members Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Dalia Itzik (Kadima). The amendment passed its first reading at the Knesset last week, and the Labor and Welfare Committee began preparing for its second and third readings on Thursday.
The committee chairman, Haim Katz (Likud) announced at the start of the meeting that after negotiating with the Treasury and National Insurance Institute, he managed to obtain the NIS 550,000 compensation for each orphan who has not been entitled to a monthly allowance so far. The compensation will also cover grants for marriage, organization and portability.
The committee knows of 80 orphans who lost both their parents in terror attacks, most of them before 2000. After the law receives its final approval, they will all get the increased monthly allowance for the rest of their lives, as well as benefits given to IDF widows – like a discount in property tax payments.
1954 massacre survivor not included
The orphans, who have all grown up in the meantime and were present at the meeting, received the new on the one-time compensation with mixed feelings.
Danny Boshkenitz, whose parents were murdered when he was a child in the 1978 Coastal Road bus massacre, believes the retroactive payment must be higher. "We've gone through catastrophes in our lives, and this is what we're entitled to?" he asked angrily.
Maya Schor, who lost her parents in the same attack, said: "Danny is right, but I want to end this saga and I trust that the Knesset members will make the right and just decision."
Attorney Naama Tzoref, whose parents were killed in a terror attack in the settlement of Kedumim in 2006, thanked the committee members for correcting the injustice. She was supported by other orphans who attended the discussions, including Miri Firstenberg, the only survivor of the 1954 Ma'ale Akrabim massacre. She was five years old at the time and was saved by a soldier who defended her with his body and was killed in the process.
Firstenberg, 64, is not included in the definition of "an orphan whose parents were killed in an act of hostility" despite losing both her parents in the shocking attack. MK Katz promised to find a suitable solution in the law for her too. "Without a solution, I won't bring the law to a vote," he said.
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