January 15, 2008
At the request of the Israeli Government, the Claims Conference is offering technical assistance so that the newly announced Israeli pension distributions to Holocaust survivors occur in a timely and efficient manner. Last week, the State of Israel began to make these payments. The following is an edited translation of the statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister’s Office
The neediest Holocaust survivors in Israel began late last week to receive pensions under a new program established by the Israeli Government.
This first group of 200 survivors received a retroactive payment of NIS 4,000 and will receive NIS 1,000 monthly, in addition to annual benefits of NIS 6,500. The payment process is still under way for other eligible individuals, who do not get any other Holocaust-related pension.
The payment was made within a week of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announcement of the logistics of the pension distribution. The considerable and prompt assistance of the Claims Conference, and the Israeli Finance and Justice ministries, allowed for the prompt distribution.
“I am proud that after decades of inaction we are implementing, step by step, the Government program,” Ra’anan Dinur, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office said in thanking the Claims Conference, adding that “we are doing the utmost to transfer the aid in its entirety.”
Also last week, NIS 70 million was allocated to the welfare fund that provides Holocaust survivors assistance up to NIS 5,000 per person.
In addition, upon compiling the list of individuals to receive the newly announced pension, it became clear that the average income of most Holocaust ghetto and concentration camp survivors was more than NIS 3,600 per month, higher than originally thought.
The Israel Government is working toward provide assistance to others who do not receive income supplements. This process is more complicated, and requires individual inquiries to those eligible. The target date to commence these special payments is March 2008.