Government of Israel, Jewish Agency, Holocaust Survivors Organizations, Yad Vashem and Fund for the Welfare of Survivors present :

“Claims Conference does not reflect the status and centrality of the State of Israel”.

In an unprecedented step, all the bodies have put together a “united Israeli front” and are signing a joint covenant calling on the Claims Conference to change the way it allocates resources, transfer 60% of its activities to Israel, significantly increase Israeli representation in Claims Conference institutions and properly reflect the status and centrality of Israel among the Jewish People and the number of Jews and Holocaust survivors living in Israel.

The key to allocating resources and the composition of Claims Conference institutions were fixed in the 1950’s and never updated. “We demand that the funds being allocated by the Claims Conference be divided according to the following key: 80% for humanitarian causes and assistance to the welfare of needy survivors and 20% to commemoration, education, research, documentation and strengthening the Jewish heritage,” declare the participants. “We also demand transferring part of the activity of the Claims Conference from New York to Jerusalem”.

“All the decisions come from America, it can’t be that they dictate to Israel what Israel needs.”

The Claims Conference was set up in 1951 in order to negotiate with the governments of Germany and Austria and to divide up the agreed payments among Holocaust survivors and heirs of Holocaust victims. The Claims Conference’s activity base was set in New York and its first head was Nachum Goldmann, head of both the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress. The Conference was made up of the 23 participating Jewish organizations — the important bodies of Jewish communities around the world at the time. Since the establishment of the Claims Conference, its structure has hardly changed, whereas the Jewish map has altered significantly and Israel has become the center of the Jewish people and home for more than half of Holocaust survivors.

Leaders of Claims Conference participating groups based in Israel got together recently: Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Zeev Bielski; Minister for Pensioners and the minister responsible for the matter for the Government of Israel, Rafi Eitan; Chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, Noah Flug; the Chairman of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev; and the Chairman of the Fund for the Welfare of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Zeev Factor. During their meeting they decided for the first time to set up a united front in order to change the existing situation and bring about historic justice.

The signing of the covenant took place on Sunday, November 26th 2006, at 2:00pm, in the Ben Gurion Hall, Jewish Agency building, 48 King George St., Jerusalem.

for further information contact:

michael jankelowitz ,liaison to foreign press

jewish agency for israel

www.jewishagency.org

+972.52.6130220 mobile

TRANSLATION FROM THE HEBREW

November 2006

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

We the undersigned, the Government of Israel, institutions and organizations active in Israel in the matter of compensation, restitution of property, and the social welfare of survivors of the Holocaust in Israel, as well as in the realm of preserving the memory of the Holocaust, eternalizing the memory of the victims and the strengthening of Jewish heritage, and with regards to the above, are connected with the activities of the Claims Conference, hereby agree to the following principles:

1. To act, as far as possible, towards the restitution, to the owners, of Jewish property from the period of the Holocaust.

2. To act, as far as possible, towards the restitution of additional funds that will be earmarked for the compensation and social welfare of Holocaust survivors and towards the strengthening of the memory of the Holocaust and Jewish heritage.

3. To act towards the just and correct distribution of compensation funds and of unclaimed funds or property.

4. The funds distributed by the Claims Conference for the support of programs and activities, which are not included in direct payments to survivors, will be distributed according to the following key: 80% of the funds will be earmarked for humanitarian purposes of aid to needy Holocaust survivors and their social welfare. 20% of the funds will be earmarked for the purpose of memorializing the Holocaust, education, research and documentation of the Holocaust as well as strengthening Jewish heritage, all this towards the preservation of the correct and important balance between these two goals.

5. Acknowledging that the Jewish people has undergone many changes, demographic and other, over the past 50 years, and mainly the establishment and development of the State of Israel, the Israeli representation in the Claims Conference and its various committees must be substantially expanded to reflect the central role of the State of Israel within the Jewish people, and the number of Jews and Holocaust survivors who were absorbed in Israel and live in Israel today.

6. In light of the centrality of the State of Israel, as stated above, 60% of the funds mentioned in paragraph 4 above, will be allocated in Israel and the remainder will be distributed in the rest of the countries of the world.

7. To present a unified stance regarding all of the above topics at the Claims Conference and to create a framework for coordination that will ensure the realization of the above principles.

____________________ __________________ _________________
The Minister for Retirees The Jewish Agency The Chairman of the
Affairs for Israel Central Organization of Holocaust Survivors

_________________________ ________________________________
The Chairman of Yad V’Shem The Chairman of the Fund for the Social Welfare of Holocaust Survivors in Israel