Claims Conference Giving $550,000 to Assist Nazi Victims in Conflict Zone Near Gaza

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December 12, 2007

Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman, left, and Chairman of the Executive Committee Reuven Merhav meeting with Holocaust survivors in Sderot on Dec. 12, a day that at least 15 Kassam rockets struck the area. In Sderot, the Claims Conference announced more than $550,000 in new services to assist Nazi victims living in the area that has come under fire around Gaza.

Elderly Nazi victims in Sderot and other areas who have come under rocket and missile fire from Gaza will benefit from approximately $550,000 in additional assistance from the Claims Conference to help them cope with the difficulties of life in the conflict zone. This will supplement existing Claims Conference-funded services in the area. In addition, the Claims Conference is working toward funding reinforcement of the emergency room at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, to withstand rocket and missile attacks.

The following initiatives of the Claims Conference were announced at a December 12 visit to Sderot of a delegation of Claims Conference leaders. The Claims Conference Executive Committee is meeting on December 13 at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

  • Reinforcement of day centers against rocket and missile attacks. The Claims Conference is allocating $211,000 to expand and reinforce the day center of the Association for the Elderly in Sha’ar Hanegev, where the majority of attendees are Nazi victims. In addition, the day center of the Association for the Elderly in Sderot will receive a $38,000 grant toward reinforcing the building against attacks. These centers were also established with Claims Conference allocations in 1998 of $140,000 and $100,000 respectively.
  • Subsidies for memberships in “supportive communities,” which provide ongoing services to help enable needy elderly residents to remain in their own homes. The Claims Conference is allocating $250,000 for memberships to all Nazi victims in Otef Azza. Members of supportive communities receive emergency life buttons, which enable elderly residents to easily call directly for emergency medical assistance without having to use the telephone. Services also include home modifications, counseling, security, and socialization programs.
  • Establishing a new branch in Sderot of AMCHA, the National Israeli Center for Psychological Support of Nazi Victims. The Claims Conference is allocating up to $50,000 to establish the center, which will serve Nazi victims in Sderot and surrounding areas, and for staff to provide ongoing support and counseling. Such services are essential for Nazi victims now, who may be especially traumatized by once again living under attack.

In addition, the Claims Conference is working toward funding reinforcement of the emergency room at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, to withstand rocket and missile attacks. This is part of an effort toward reinforcing and securing four hospitals in Israel in conflict areas, undertaken in partnership with the Prime Minister’s office. Barzilai serves hundreds of Nazi victims every year. In 2005, the Claims Conference allocated $810,000 to upgrade the internal medicine department, where the majority of patients are Nazi victims, and another $10,000 to renovate the physiotherapy department. The Claims Conference had previously allocated funds to Barzilai to upgrade the geriatric and physiotherapy departments in order to better treat Nazi victims in the area. Total Claims Conference allocations to Barzilai exceed $1.5 million.

The Claims Conference has funded a number of other projects recently in this area of Israel. The Foundation for the Benefit of Nazi Victims in Israel uses $260,000 yearly from its Claims Conference allocations to provide nursing care to Nazi victims in Otef Azza.

In 2006, allocations of $499,800 were made to three Amigour sheltered housing complexes in Ashkelon to provide protected areas on every floor of the complex in order to shelter residents during attacks. This was part of a larger Claims Conference allocation of $1.7 million to construct protected areas in 13 complexes in vulnerable areas of Israel.

Meir Panim in Sderot receives $22,800 per year in allocations to provide daily hot meals to 250 Nazi victims. In 2007, the Claims Conference also allocated $145,360 to Eshel Ashkelon for two years of hunger relief for needy Nazi victims. The agency provides hot meals to 140 Nazi victims. The Claims Conference has also funded Passover food packages for Nazi victims in Sderot.

To learn more about Claims Conference initiatives to help Nazi victims in conflict zones, please visit: www.claimscon.org/North-Israel