Social Affairs Minister Chaim Katz announced in a press conference that due to the obtuseness of the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority and its refusal to share information with other government branches, 65,134 of Israel’s 194,468 Holocaust survivors who are eligible to receive special assistance benefits lost millions of shekels.
“Unfortunately, the information on Holocaust survivors living in Israel was kept secret, guarded solely by the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority (HSRA),” Katz said.
Because of the insistence of the HSRA of the Finance Ministry that sharing information with the Welfare Ministry would infringe the survivors’ privacy, 4,193 survivors aged 90 and above never received home-assistance benefits to which they were entitled. 5,963 survivors only received a middle level of home assistance instead of the highest level, and 14,063 survivors never received the 112 shekel monthly electricity discount for which they were eligible.
“The numbers clearly reflect how we’ve all failed, how the bureaucracy, the indifference of officials, and the proliferation of agencies that deal with this issue have produced a situation where survivors go hungry and suffer from cold and neglect,” Katz said. “We will do everything possible to prevent this terrible suffering and allow them to live in dignity.”
HSRA denied Katz’s charges, said it would clarify that they are incorrect, and accused him of making the ruckus for the purpose of headlines and political gain.
Statistics that Katz unearthed revealed that 2,725 of Israel’s Holocaust survivors live in recognized institutions, 619 of them are 100 years and older, and 21,794 are 90 years and older.
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel