Comptroller: State neglecting Holocaust survivors

New report finds Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority not providing for Holocaust survivors' needs as it is supposed to.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira
Flash 90

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira published a special report Wednesday, prior to Holocaust Remembrance day which falls next Monday, on the matter of state assistance to Holocaust survivors.

Shapira said that at present there are 158,000 Israeli citizens eligible for benefits as sufferers of Nazi persecution as well as 56,000 more citizens who suffered anti-Semitic and racist attacks during World War II. Their average age is 85 and every month about 1,000 of them pass away.

Bureacratic issues

The report stated that due to bureaucratic failures of the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, there are a number of items which are not properly supervised while other services do not properly utilize resources and there are even two offices providing the same services for survivors.

The legislation applying to survivors is complex and changes from time to time in a disorganized fashion. Most of the survivors do not know how to search for information on the Internet and are not proficient in Hebrew and therefore do not understand their rights.

Financial allocations to Holocaust survivors

Rules for allocation of funds to Holocaust survivors from abandoned Holocaust property have not yet been established even though the Society for Return of Holocaust Property will complete its work at the end of 2017.

Most of the Holocaust survivors who arrived in the 90's from the former Soviet republic do not have pensions or any other economic base besides NII allocations. This sector, representing a quarter of Holocaust survivors, is not heard from and they live in poverty and have to give up on basic requirements.

Residential assistance

Many of the aging survivors require help as their residences are not suitable for them in their present state. The Authority has no comprehensive data about the places of residence of the survivors and does not know how many are waiting for public housing. Reductions on property taxes are smaller than those given to other needy senior citizens.

The comptroller also touched upon other issues, including the need to establish proper social infrastructure for Holocaust survivors as well as providing welfare services, health care, and social activities which could mitigate the loneliness suffered by many survivors. Many survivors also require psychological treatment but at present only psychiatric and psychotherapy treatments are recognized by the Authority. Dental treatment is also not properly covered by the Authority and therefore NGOs have been funding dental treatments for survivors.

The comptroller concluded that despite the fact that governmental and non-governmental sources are working to fill the gaps in various aspects of life for which survivors require assistance, there is a need for a guiding hand from above for all of the activities and this must be provided immediately "so that the survivors living among us will be able to live the rest of their lives in dignity and receive the recognition they deserve."