Knesset Okays Law Increasing Financial Aid to Holocaust Survivors

8,000 survivors who had never received any form of compensation will now get benefit package.

The Knesset plenum on Monday approved in the second and third reading a law stipulating an increase in the stipends granted to Holocaust survivors and the elderly, in accordance with a deal struck with the survivors' representatives over the summer.

The newly approved law will grant financial assistance to 8,000 Holocaust survivors that have thus far been excluded from any reparations deal with Germany, and therefore did not receive any financial compensation.

The new law will go into effect in April, and will cost approximately NIS one billion per year.

Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog (Labor) described the approval of the law a "historical achievement." According to Herzog, up until today, there had been "terrible discrimination between survivors who may have laid down next to each other in the same cabin at Auschwitz," but one of them received reparations and the other didn't.

The new law is "another step toward erasing this disgrace from the face of Israeli society. It may be late, but better late," he said.

The new law encompasses two groups of elderly recipients. 8,000 Holocaust survivors, who until now haven't received any assistance because they somehow fell between the cracks, will now receive NIS 1,000 every month. They will also receive a yearly grant of NIS 4,000, convalescence pay, discounts on property tax and other benefits.

The second group includes all the elderly citizens on Israel currently receiving guaranteed minimal income, Holocaust survivors as well as those who aren't survivors. The group encompasses some 143,000 people. This group will receive an increase of tens to hundreds of shekels to their existing monthly stipends. Seniors below the age of 80 will receive a monthly increase of NIS 24-31. Those over 80 years old will receive an increase of NIS 181-267.