50% of Holocaust Survivors Living Below Poverty Line
The annual report from the Holocaust Survivors Fund (HSF) was released Wednesday - and revealed that a shockingly high percentage of survivors live in poverty.
According to the report, 60% of survivors are "troubled" by their economic situation, and about 50,000 of Holocaust survivors in Israel today live under the poverty line.
66% of survivors are surviving off the meager income of NIS 3,000 a month ($859 dollars; less than the typical monthly rent price for a studio apartment in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv), for that had more than a third of Holocaust survivors turn to HSF for assistance.
"Our mission is not only to give Holocaust survivors their rights, but also to fulfill their wish to die with dignity," HSF Chairman Avi Dichter stated in the report.
Chairman of the Caucus for Holocaust Survivors in the Knesset, MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid), noted that the results are actually an improvement on statistics from years past.
"Harsh reports on the current situation for Holocaust survivors are released every year ahead of Holocaust Memorial day, but I deal with these tough issues year-round," Kariv stated Wednesday. "This year, we see an improvement on the living conditions for survivors compared to years past."
"Next week we will be submitting a proposal for a national program assisting Holocaust survivors to the government," Kariv continued, "which includes significant changes to the budget, a boost to subsidies and reducing bureaucracy to improve the lives of Israel's survivors. The Finance Ministry has taken the responsibility for transferring funds to survivors, both directly and through intermediaries."
Kariv noted that while this year's report is an improvement, this is also a major step for the government to address ongoing problems for the Holocaust survivors' community in Israel.
"Finally there is an understanding that the time frame for improving the quality of life of survivors is fixed, and we must act here and now," she said. "The State of Israel is obligated to provide for Holocaust survivors and their spouses who still live among us and to enable them to live with dignity."