Israeli fund, citing overflow of requests, turns away Holocaust survivors

(JTA) — A fund that helps Israeli Holocaust survivors pay medical expenses told recipients that it would stop receiving applications until next year, citing an overflow of requests.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported that the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel this week suspended the transfer of funds to more than 8,000 survivors eligible for benefits.

The foundation has been receiving 100 to 150 such requests every day this year and thus far has paid out $7.7 million to 9,100 applicants. Its dedicated budget for such reimbursements has a shortfall of $5.1 million, Ynet reported.

Rony Kalinsky, the foundation’s general manager, blamed the government for the budget shortage, according to Ynet. The Finance Ministry said it had increased its contribution in recent years. The foundation operates independently of the state.

The fund reimburses low-income survivors for medical bills of up to approximately $1,000 that they already have paid from their own pockets. The reimbursements cover dental services, hearing aids and prescription glasses.

Established in the 1990s, the foundation is funded by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which covers 60 percent of its budget. Another 30 percent comes from the Israeli Ministry of Finance, and the rest comes from other donors.

The organization’s overall budget this year was $112.5 million.

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