Jan. 10, 2007 0:14
Claims Conference, MKs spar over funds distribution

Knesset members clashed with representatives of the Claims Conference Tuesday as the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee debated how to best distribute funds to Holocaust survivors.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, represents world Jewry in negotiating for compensation for Holocaust survivors and their heirs. The organization, which in 1951 was given a mandate to negotiate with Germany on behalf of all survivors, holds a virtual monopoly on all funds secured from that country, said MKs, who contested the way in which the conference distributes its funds.

“This organization has billions of dollars in funds and each year they get several million more which they distribute according to their own internal system,” said MK Colette Avital, a former head of the Knesset Committee for Holocaust Reparations. “All we are asking for is greater transparency in how the decisions are made.”