Holocaust survivors
Holocaust survivors at a 2009 protest with a sign reading 'Shoah victims are asking where is the money?' Photo by Dan Keinan
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Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Thursday approved a new regulation that would allow needy Holocaust survivors living in Israel to receive a 50 percent discount on their electric bills.

The new regulation would apply to 30,000 Holocaust survivors across the country.

The discount would apply to usage of up to 400 kilowatts per hour.

Steinitz signed the regulation while touring the offices of the Holocaust Survivors' Rights Authority, along with Deputy Finance Minister Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen and the ministry's Director-General Haim Shani.

The officials learned about the process of helping needy Holocaust survivors, 90,000 of whom receive government assistance depending on various criteria.

Earlier this week, the Knesset's Finance and Labor, Welfare and Health Committees approved a request from the Finance Ministry to expedite the payment of stipends approved for needy Holocaust survivors.

Survivors who fall into this category will receive NIS 750 to NIS 1,300 in retroactive payments starting in October 2010, and their monthly stipends are expected to increase by NIS 120 per person.

Steinitz said during the visit to the authority that the government's awareness about assistance for Holocaust survivors has greatly improved in the last year. "We made great efforts to transfer more than NIS 50 million for the sake of improving the monthly stipend before the coming holiday period," said Steinitz.

"I hope that discounting electricity costs will also help Holocaust survivors feel that the state is embracing them before the holidays," he added.