Gov’t okays payments for overlooked Holocaust survivors
By The Associated Press
tags: Holocaust survivors, welfare

The government approved a new welfare package for around a third of Israel’s Holocaust survivors Sunday, closing a loophole which denied support for thousands of Jews who became refugees during the Nazi genocide in Europe.

Sunday’s Cabinet decision followed public criticism of the government for not doing enough to help those who survived the murder of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II, many of whom are elderly and impoverished.

Survivors who until now did not receive any monthly stipend will receive payments from January 2008, backdated to October 2007, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. The measure was part of a broader, $500 million package of assistance to the elderly, the statement said.

The 80,000 people aided by the new measure are those who fled their homes ahead of advancing Nazi forces and became refugees, but never fell under Nazi occupation. Most are from the former Soviet Union and moved to Israel in the 1990s. They are among a total of 240,000 Holocaust survivors now living in Israel.