Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, brings with it a sad report on being a survivor of the Holocaust in Israel.
According to Boaz Arad, a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies who published a paper on the property rights of Holocaust survivors in Israel, it appears as though it might be better for Holocaust survivors to live outside of Israel.
“Being a Holocaust survivor in Israel puts you in a very difficult spot,” Arad told INN TV. “On average, every Holocaust survivor who is supposed to receive a handicapped rent, will suffer from a sum of 1.6 million shekels that will be omitted from his payment because of the fact that he’s living in Israel and the payment is not made directly to him.”
The reason for this, explained Arad, was the decision to nationalize the payments being made to survivors. “Israel took charge of all the payments made by Germany as compensation,” he said. “This is the reason that Israeli survivors are suffering from poor treatment, from a lot of bureaucracy and from a lack of funding that they are supposed to get.”
Arad’s report also notes that certain properties in Israeli cities like Tel Aviv, which today are home to bases which belong to the army and the Ministry of Defense, were originally meant for Holocaust survivors.
“Part of the compensation agreement was that all the Templer [a group of German Protestants who set up colonies in then Palestine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries -ed.] properties in Israel were supposed to be part of the agreement in order to compensate the survivors,” he explained. “These properties, which are worth millions of dollars, are actually in the hands of the Israeli army.”
Arad believes that the reason for this situation is that “Israel was established with a lot of socialistic influence and a sense of urgency and surviving, but right now I think we need to reconsider our behavior towards the survivors who are with us today.”
He noted that “two thirds of the survivors perished without getting any compensation. There are resources, there are many agencies that are taking care of the survivors, but we need the guiding hand that will tie all these agencies together, save the duplication in cost, and give them a real service.”