Knesset increases benefits for Holocaust survivors

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Knesset voted to increase benefits for Israel’s Holocaust survivors, many of whom live in poverty.

The bill passed Monday will add $290 million a year to the allocations for survivor benefits, increase the monthly stipend received by Holocaust survivors and streamline the bureaucracy for government programs.

It evens out the benefits received by survivors of the ghettos and the death camps who immigrated to Israel after 1953 with those who moved to Israel immediately after the Holocaust, and provides benefits for the surviving spouses of survivors.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare Minister Meir Cohen introduced the measure.

“This is not just an amendment to a law, but an amendment to an historical injustice,” Lapid said after passage of the bill. “For years survivors were faced with red tape and bureaucratic neglect, in which survivors were not the top priorities.”

Some 200,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel.

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