Dalia Itzik vows to block budget if aid to Holocaust survivors not paid
By Zvi Zrahiya, Haaretz Correspondent

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik (Kadima) has threatened to thwart the passing of the 2008 budget in the Knesset if the government doesn’t advance legislation meant to provide assistance to Holocaust survivors in Israel.

“I have no intention of issuing an ultimatum on this matter, but I am warning that the entire state budget will not pass if appropriate solutions for this problem are not found,” Itzik said Wednesday during a special Knesset hearing on the subject.

Knesset sources stated that Itzik has tired of waiting for government initiatives to provide assistance to Holocaust survivors, and if the government continues to drag its feet, she will start her own initiatives to deal with the matter.

During the hearing, Itzik appointed Knesset Legal Counsel Nurit Altstein and Knesset Secretary Ayal Yanoun to examine legislation currently under debate in the Knesset, and to formulate a consolidated bill that would provide government assistance to Holocaust survivors.

Itzik also requested an examination of ways to remove the obstacles hindering the payment of assistance.

The delays in paying assistance to Holocaust survivors are according to Itzik, “a reality that is simply impossible to live with. We have a moral and ethical necessity to solve this problem.”