A debt that can’t be paid with money
By Haaretz Editorial
tags: Holocaust, Germany, Israel

The minister of pensioners’ affairs, Rafi Eitan, wants in the name of the Israeli government to reassess the reparations agreement with Germany, because he says the hundreds of millions that were paid to Israel in the 1950s did not take into account the long life expectancy of Holocaust survivors or the immigration to Israel of 175,000 survivors from the former Soviet Union. All of these monetary explanations, whose language is taken from tort law, are embarrassing and disgusting.

Israel is not the attorney for the survivors vis-a-vis Germany, but rather should be seeing to the welfare and security of all its citizens and elderly – those who were born here, those who survived the Nazis, and those who came to live in Israel more recently. As a country that automatically takes in any Jew who wants to immigrate, without reference to age or health, it could be expected that the state would find itself having to care for World War II survivors who came with the wave of immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States. This task is not beyond the means of this flourishing country; it can fulfill it without begging from door to door.