Knesset honors Claims Conference

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany honored for contributions made to the State of Israel to support Holocaust survivors.

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MK Eli Alaluf awards Claims Conference management an official certificate of appreciation
MK Eli Alaluf awards Claims Conference management an official certificate of appreciation
Nir Kafri

The Knesset on Tuesday honored the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for contributions made to the State of Israel to support Holocaust survivors.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany represents world Jewry in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs. The Claims Conference administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and that preserve the memory and lessons of the Shoah.

The honor was presented to Claims Conference President Julius Berman and Executive Vice President Greg Schneider by the chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, MK Eli Alaluf (Kulanu).

Government Ministers, Members of Knesset, foreign diplomats and leaders of organizations involved in providing health and social services for Holocaust survivors attended the ceremony, including Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman; Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel; MK Elazar Stern, MK Avi Dichter, MK Shuli Mualem, the German Ambassador to Israel Dr. Clemens von Goetze, Colette Avital, Chairwoman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, and other organizational leaders and Holocaust survivors.

“The Claims Conference support and funding has greatly improved the service in hospitals, in particular to Holocaust survivors, and helped improve their lives,” said Minister Litzman, adding, “The Claims Conference has done something even the organization itself could not fathom and that is, save and help extend the patient’s lives."

“Thanks to the Claims Conference’s funding, the health and welfare infrastructure of the State of Israel has improved greatly and for that we thank you,” noted MK Alaluf. “The Claims Conference legacy will remain for generations to come.”

Over the last four decades, the Claims Conference has contributed $1.38 billion to survivor care in Israel. Contributions from the Claims Conference have included: $940 million for home care hours; $109 million for renovating and establishing new wards in 18 general and geriatric hospitals; Nursing homes and units built on 63 kibbutzim and $155 million to 35 nursing homes across Israel; $42 million for sheltered housing units in 22 cities, from Nahariya in the north to Beer Sheeva in the south; and $41 million for 107 day centers, where survivors go for meals, company and social activities.

“We have helped care for tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors and strengthened the modern State of Israel, leaving a legacy of care and a foundation for the future,” said Claims Conference President Julius Berman. “The partnership between the Claims Conference and the State of Israel, forged over the past 65 years, will continue for as long as Holocaust survivors need it.”

“These survivors, our heroes of the Shoah, are aging. We are in the last chapter of this work, making this the most important work we’ve done yet. We have a limited time to help those who are in dire need of our assistance,” said Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider. “This is our last opportunity to provide these survivors with the dignity that was stolen from them early in life.”

With over 190,000 survivors, Israel has the largest population of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the world, an aging population with growing and unique needs. Program contributions made by the Claims Conference to Israel have not only elevated care for these survivors, but have improved geriatric care for all elderly across the Jewish state.