New aid package shows survivors they ‘are not forgotten,’ finance minister says

The Knesset on Monday approved an increase of NIS 1 billion ($290 million) each year in benefits for Israel’s dwindling, largely destitute population of Holocaust survivors.

The new benefits package, titled “The National Plan for Aiding Survivors of the Holocaust,” was initiated by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, and quickly passed its second and third readings on the Knesset floor Monday to be enshrined in law. The plan is set to increase stipends and streamline bureaucracy for some 200,000 survivors across many government programs.

The bill’s passage shows the survivors they “are not forgotten,” Lapid said after the initiative was approved, and added that the increased benefits were not just a piece of legislation, but a way of correcting a historical wrong and represented “a change in attitude.”

In addition to the additional financial benefits, the bill will “simplify the terrible bureaucratic journey Holocaust survivors were forced to endure to in order to receive what they deserve and exercise their rights,” Lapid said.

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