Panel Approves Bill to Increase Holocaust Survivors' Income

Bill, passed in early reading, states that payments from Germany will not be considered taxable income.

The Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee on Tuesday approved for preliminary reading a bill that would increase disposable income for needy Holocaust survivors.

The bill, which passed unanimously, states that payments from Germany would not be considered taxable income or liable for other government deductions. They would also not be considered income for the purpose of calculating National Insurance Institute pensions or public housing rental assistance.

The bill, which was proposed by MKs Marina Solodkin and Michael Nudelman (Kadima), would mean that survivors who receive compensation payments from Germany would no longer lose out on other government allowances or benefits as a result.

Nudelman said that last year he persuaded Housing and Construction Minister Meir Sheetrit to order an immediate cessation of the 8-percent deductions taken from the German compensation payments made out to survivors living in public housing. However, he added that it was necessary to anchor this change in law to prevent the renewal of the practice in the future.

Solodkin said, "I see it as a success that after 10 years of struggle, I have obtained in Israel a benefit that is given all over the world to Holocaust survivors, under which compensation payments from Germany are not considered income. It was shameful that Israel deducted 8 percent from the payments to needy Holocaust survivors who live in public housing."