A bill increasing the financial benefits for some Holocaust survivors by hundreds of shekels a month, sponsored by three lawmakers from Hadash parliamentary fraction, became the first law passed in the Knesset’s winter session last Tuesday, November 1. The bill was sponsored by Joint List head Ayman Odeh, and Hadash colleagues Dov Khenin and Abdallah Abu-Ma’aruf. Seventy MKs voted in favor of the bill with no votes cast against it.
The legislation cancels a previous 2014 modification made in the relevant law that considered any monthly payment from Germany to certain Holocaust survivors in Israel as income, meaning that a specified amount was deducted from the monthly payments they received from the state’s National Insurance Institute. The new bill will benefit Holocaust survivors who moved to Israel after 1953 and who are currently paid NIS 1,350 ($354) a month by the German government. Israeli law stipulates that Holocaust survivors are to receive a minimum of NIS 2,200 ($578) a month from the state, but those who receive the German stipend had it deducted from the state benefit because it was considered income.
As a result of the change in law, those survivors can now expect to receive the full monthly sum from the state, applied retroactively from the beginning of September. “This is a wrong that needed to be corrected, that impacted Holocaust survivors and therefore it was important and appropriate to correct it,” Khenin said. “I hope that in this way, step by step, we will progress towards correcting the wrongs and faults that remain.”
MK Ayman Odeh told The Times of Israel website that he was proud to have been involved in pushing through the measure. “I had the privilege of being part of the initiative for this important bill, which corrects an ongoing wrong against the Holocaust survivors,” he said. “I am especially proud that we managed to assist Holocaust survivors who are still with us to live decently.”