Israel to probe neglect of Holocaust survivors
Mon Jan 7, 2008 7:25pm GMT

By Ori Lewis

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli legislators voted on Monday to form an inquiry commission with executive powers to probe years of failure by the Jewish state to provide adequate financial help for needy survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.

Israel’s establishment in 1948 with international backing came after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees and Holocaust survivors from Europe after World War Two.

Many of the survivors, now elderly and infirm, have complained for years of not receiving adequate funding to allow them to live out their remaining years in dignity.

“Holocaust survivors are tired of promises and they have been treated failingly for years,” said Zvulun Orlev, who heads Israel’s parliamentary state audit committee.

Orlev said his committee voted to form the commission because Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government failed to respond swiftly to a damning report by the state comptroller, who probes government departments and state-funded bodies.

Olmert said his cabinet had on Sunday approved a formula for paying out 2 billion shekels (265 million pounds) to survivors and that a transfer of money would begin “in the coming days”.

“Every day of delay is an intolerable day and we will do all we can to ensure that the survivors benefit from the minimum which Israel has committed to provide after 60 years of ignoring the matter,” he said on Monday.

Olmert said his government would cooperate with the inquiry commission. It has the power to order the removal from office of individuals found to have failed in their official capacity. Continued…

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