By Geoffrey Paul
October 7, 2010
A reader has drawn my attention to the fact that it is not only kids who are going hungry in Israel. There is a shocking story in the Los Angeles Times, which I have been able to verify from other sources. Speaking of poverty among Holocaust survivors in Israel as “something of a dirty little secret,” it claims that an estimated 70,000 survivors — one-third of the total of those living in the Jewish State — don't have enough money to make ends meet.The ageing survivors are regularly showing up in soup kitchens or government welfare agencies.
About half of Holocaust survivors are older than 80 and dying at a rate of 35 a day. Many survivors, it is said, fall through the cracks or receive insufficient aid from Holocaust compensation programmes, which are largely funded by $60 billion in German reparations and administered by the Israeli Government and New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Many survivors living in Israel receive monthly payments ranging from $300 to $1,000. But, as survivors age and experience increased health problems, the payments are no longer enough, according to the LA Times correspondent.
The Claims Conference - which lists an incredible roster of 40 “senior staff” in its Broadway headquarters - part of its $10 million administration cost - has an item in its published accounts headed “investments.” This declares assets of $1 billion! In truth, the annual travel costs of Claims Conference officials plus the flight tickets and hotel bills for the 64 international board members (including four from the UK) would provide a welcome bonus for the needy survivors struggling to stay alive in Israel.