Despite Commitment, Finance Ministry Hasn’t Presented an Outline for Compensation for Those Killed in Meron

YERUSHALAYIM -
A poster shows photos of the 45 people who passed away in Meron on Lag BaOmer. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Finance Ministry did not present an outline for compensation for the victims of the disaster in Meron, although it undertook to do so by this past Monday.

The commitment was given at the request of the chairman of the Finance Committee, MK Alex Kushnir, but on Tuesday he simply ignored all the references from the families on the subject.

“It seemingly does not interest them in the slightest,” Shai Tzarfati, who lost his father, Rabbi Moshe Tzarfati, z”l, in the tragedy, told the Davar website. “We turned to Kushnir and he ignored us. We turned to the Finance Committee secretariat and they ignored us, too. Last week we sent a letter to Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, and we also did not receive a response. We turned to the Treasury, we asked them to come and see what our needs are, but they replied that they do not work in that manner. ‘We’re working on a plan and that’s it,’ they said. We have discovered that being a bereaved family in this country receives complete disregard on the part of the state.”

As will be recalled, the Knesset plenum overturned MK Rabbi Yaakov Asher’s compensation law last week, and has apparently not come up with any other solution. In a debate held in the Knesset last week, the Finance Ministry secretary revealed that the ministry intends to bring an outline that reduces the number of eligible people and focuses on assistance to the families of those who perished in the tragedy. This is out of fear that, unlike the disaster in the Versailles hall, in the tragedy in Meron many hundreds and thousands of people might be eligible and could claim compensation.

The director-general of the National Insurance Institute attacked the Finance Ministry at the hearing: “The Finance Ministry has had two months. Where have they been? Why have they not done anything? We passed it on to them and they did not comment. Let’s put things on the table.”

According to the compensation plan proposed by the National Insurance Institute – and not accepted by the Treasury – the amount of the payment is NIS 100,000 per person that passed away, or NIS 130,000 per person in the event that two family members perished in the tragedy. In addition, the spouses and children up to the age of 20 of the victims will receive a one-time grant that will be calculated according to a monthly allowance of NIS 1,800 for 25 years, an amount that can reach hundreds of thousands of shekels.