JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Knesset voted to increase benefits for the country’s Holocaust survivors, many of whom live in poverty.
The bill to increase by $290 million a year allocations for survivor benefits, which will increase the monthly stipend received by Holocaust survivors and will streamline the bureaucracy for government programs, was approved on its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum on Monday.
The benefits were introduced by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare Minister Meir Cohen. They even out the benefits received by survivors of the ghettos and the death camps who immigrated to Israel after 1953 with those who moved to Israel immediately after the Holocaust, and provide benefits for the surviving spouses of survivors.
“This is not just an amendment to a law, but an amendment to an historical injustice. For years survivors were faced with red tape and bureaucratic neglect, in which survivors were not the top priorities,” Lapid said after passage of the bill.
There are about 200,000 elderly Holocaust survivors living in Israel.