Sunday, 31 January 2010

State must apologize to Israel's Holocaust survivors - Knesset Speaker

A little reminder after Holocaust Memorial Day that when Zionists claim that the Holocaust sanctifies them and Israel uses the holocaust to ward off criticism, as to their real attitude. Israel claims (mistakenly) that it arose on the ashes of the Holocaust. It's a good story, but even now, when holocaust survivors are rapidly dying out, Israel does its best to ensure that the reparations for the holocaust go toward the upkeep of the Zionist state and in funding ‘educational’ trips to Auschwitz for Israeli school kids. These kids are kept apart from the Polish population, whom they are told are all anti-Semites, and the message they are fed is that only blood, fire and racism can ward off another holocaust – rather than those for whom the money was intended.

'Never Again' has been twisted and distorted into 'Never Again for Jews'

It is this which should put in context the Zionist exploitation of the holocaust in order to legitimise the apartheid State of Israel. Below is one of numerous article on Zionism’s real attitude to the holocaust survivors, an attitude that Tom Segev details in his book The Seventh Million, where those who first came to Israel were termed ‘soap’.

Tony Greenstein

Dalia Itzik: State must apologize to Israel's Holocaust survivors
Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz 20.8.07.

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said Monday that the State of Israel must apologize to Holocaust survivors for all the funds that the state has withheld from them over the years.

Itzik spoke during a special Knesset discussion on the topic of monetary assistance to impoverished survivors.

"The State of Israel demanded the reparation money that was transferred from
Germany, but wasn't wise enough to channel the funds correctly for the benefit
of those who needed and deserved it," Itzik said at the discussion. "Today we
are here to repair that mistake, so that we are able to look the survivors in
the eye, and with humility, tell them on behalf of the State of Israel, and on
behalf of Israeli society, that we are sorry."

Last week, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published a special report which concluded that the Finance Ministry had delayed and canceled financial support for institutions that assist survivors.

The report found that funds that were designated for survivors were not used for that purpose, nor is the primary body charged with coordinating the activities of survivors' organizations funded at all. According to the report, the problem is a result of mismanagement in the Finance Ministry.

Lindenstrauss further determined that survivors experience years of delays in processing their claims due to bureaucratic obstacles and the lack of adequate manpower.

During Monday's discussion, several MKs criticized Itzik for deferring the discussion until after a deal was struck Sunday between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the survivors' groups over the amount of monthly assistance they would be eligible to receive.

Meretz Party Chair Zahava Gal-On criticized Olmert for failing to attend the special discussion. She added that the government mustn't discriminate between types of survivors, referring the distinction the prime minister had made between survivors who endured the camps, and those who escaped the Nazi-controlled areas and ended up in Soviet territories. The agreement reached between the Olmert and the survivors stipulated a monthly stipend for those who had survived the camps, but not the "second circle" survivors.

"There is no difference between people who experienced pain, suffering, humiliation, were tortured and fled," Gal-On said.

MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said that "Israel cannot conduct another selection," referring to the selection the survivors underwent on their way to the camps.

However, government representative and Pensioners' Minister Rafi Eitan said that the large number of survivors requires such a sub-division.

MK Collette Avital (Labor) warned against the possibility that the treasury would undermine the planned assistance by dragging its feet.
"Israel's government must take organizational decisions
in addition to budgetary decisions. If we don't make the bureaucratic
system more efficient, repair those failures the state comptroller referred to
in his report, and ensure that the survivors receive appropriate and respectable
treatment, the money allocated to them will continue to get stuck in the
depths of bureaucracy and one day soon we will discover that the pretty
decisions made yesterday (Sunday) won't be worth more than the paper they are
written on."

MK Sarah Marom Shalev (Pensioners), a Holocaust survivor herself, urged the Knesset not to approve the 2008 budget until the financial aid to survivors is finalized. She said "yesterday I was at the funeral of one of my closest friends, a Holocaust survivor. He died at age 72 with nothing."

On Sunday, Olmert agreed, during his meeting with representatives of Holocaust survivors, to allocate NIS 100 million next year for medical and nursing-care benefits to survivors living in Israel.

In addition, he said the survivors would enjoy municipal tax discounts, an exemption from the television tax, and NIS 30 million in vacation and convalescence benefits.

The funds allotted for convalescence and for medical and nursing-care benefits, which will be distributed by the Holocaust Survivors' Welfare Fund, will double in 2009.

Olmert refused, however, to grant benefits to survivors who fled Nazi-controlled territory and were not placed in concentration camps or ghettos, saying that to do so would be to create an "ethnic gap" between European Holocaust survivors and elderly Israelis who fled persecution in other countries, such as Iraq.

"I don't doubt for even one moment the distress of those who fled from countries where the Nazis were, and they are survivors of the Nazi occupation," Olmert said, adding, on the other hand, that "I am not disregarding those who fled from the enemies of Israel - the Persians, the Moroccans, the Tunisians and the Syrians."

Noah Flug, who heads the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, which represented the survivors in negotiations, told Olmert that two-thirds of Holocaust survivors from Poland managed to flee eastward during the Nazi occupation. He said most international groups and foreign governments - and previously, the Israeli government - recognized such refugees as survivors in every way.

The government negotiators were initially leaning toward granting benefits to those who fled Nazi-controlled territory, but changed their position due to the opposition of the Finance Ministry's budget division.

The ministry said financial problems relating to such survivors should instead be resolved within the context of a solution for all needy elderly Israelis. The National Economics Council is due to come up with such a solution by the Rosh Hashanah holiday in mid-September.

The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors is aiming to help those who have fallen through the cracks, and who receive little government support in the form of the benefits received by most survivors that were in concentration camps or ghettos.

Some 8,000 survivors who have yet to receive a special government allotment for various bureaucratic reasons will be receiving NIS 1,200 a month for the next two years. The government will try to convince Germany to provide the funds for the payout. If it does not succeed, it will increase the benefits paid by Israel to NIS 1,600 a month after the two years have passed.

In addition, some 7,000 survivors who receive reparations from a German fund established in the 1990s, and who subsist thanks to income supplements, will receive an annual grant of NIS 3,000. The government will also fund a center that will inform survivors concerning their financial rights and help them receive the money that is due them.

The government, whose negotiating team was led by Prime Minister's Office director general Raanan Dinur, also agreed to symbolic gestures such as granting survivors a badge of appreciation on the occasion of Israel's upcoming 60th birthday. It will also establish a committee - half of whose members are survivors, and half ministerial directors - which will meet twice a year to discuss survivors' benefits and any related problems that might arise.

The government also committee to promote legislation recognizing the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors as the representative group in any future negotiations with the government

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