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Israel’s Cabinet approves more Holocaust survivor benefits

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved at plan for an annual increase of $290 million in benefits for the country’s Holocaust survivors.

The approval on Sunday came on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah.

The Knesset must approve the plan when the parliament returns from its spring recess on May 12.

Israel’s finance minister, Yair Lapid, who initiated the legislation, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page that the legislation will be fast-tracked so that “the survivors don’t have to wait, because we don’t have time to wait. We need to help them now.

“The program not only increases the scope of assistance and the benefits that Holocaust survivors are entitled to, it also makes tackling the bureaucratic tangle short and simple,” Lapid wrote.

Under the plan, survivors will receive a full refund on medicines, larger grants deposited directly to their bank accounts and free psychological services. Destitute survivors would receive additional grants.

“We have a moral obligation to see to it that Holocaust survivors living among us can live out their lives honorably,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday before the weekly Cabinet meeting.

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