The Knesset passed a bill to provide some 1 billion shekels in assistance to Holocaust survivors, Ynet reported on Tuesday.
The program raises the minimum stipend for all Holocaust survivors to NIS 2,200 — as opposed to NIS 1,825 — and will range up to NIS 5,400. The change will affect about 70,000 Holocaust survivors considered to be psychically handicapped in wake of the Holocaust as well as 18,500 survivors of the ghettos and the death camps.
In addition, survivors will no longer partially fund their own medication and will now receive 100% discount on state-subsidied drugs, as opposed to the 50% discount currently offered.
After the bill passed, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said “this is not just an amendment to a law, but an amendment to a historical injustice. For years survivors were faced with red tape and bureaucratic neglect, in which survivors did not top priorities.”
The program further stipulates giving survivors of the ghettos and the death camps who immigrated to Israel after 1953 benefits equal to those who moved to Israel immediately after the war. The provision is estimated at NIS 277 million and corrects what some have condemned as an historic injustice whereby some survivors received less than others.
Until now, this group of 18,500 Holocaust survivors received a monthly stipend of NIS 1,500-1,800 a month; now in wake of the move they will receive somewhere between NIS 1,825-5,400 a month, depending on the severity of their situation, both in terms of physical and mental health.
The bill also calls for an annual NIS 2,000 grant to needy Holocaust survivors; and expanded benefits for spouses of Holocaust survivors who have passed away.