Of Survivors and Politicians

By Steve Kramer

My mother mentioned to me that she was surprised to learn that Holocaust survivors in Israel were often living in poverty. Sad to say, it’s true. Among all the Western countries which have Jewish survivors, Israel probably treats its large survivor population the worst. (Unfortunately, things are even more abysmal in the former Communist countries.)

One might wonder how this terrible situation could have developed. One reason is that the role of survivors in building the State of Israel has generally been undervalued. After WWII, Israel’s sabras [native-born Jewish population} had feelings of shame towards the influx of Jews from Europe, whom they perceived as representative of a group that had gone “like sheep to the slaughter”.