(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this morning (Monday, 30 July 2007), held a discussion at which he decided to grant a special support payment to Holocaust survivors living in Israel.  This unprecedented decision is based on the conclusions and recommendations of an interministerial committee initiated by Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog and chaired by Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry Director-General Nahum Itskovitz.  Representatives from the Pensioners Affairs and Finance ministries, the National Insurance Institute and the Prime Minister’s Office participated in the committee.

Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Herzog, Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan, Health Minister Yaacov Ben-Yizri, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and other senior officials attended this morning’s discussion.

According to the decision, the state will – in 2008-2011 – allocate hundreds of millions of shekels (NIS 120 in 2008, NIS 240 in 2009 and up to over NIS 300 million beginning in 2011) in financial grants to the approximately 120,000 Holocaust survivors over 70 who receive National Insurance Institute pensions and income support payments.  The Government intends to reach a NIS 520 per month supplement for Holocaust survivor couples.

In addition to the foregoing, there will be additional supplements – worth hundreds of millions of shekels – from non-governmental sources for the treatment and care, including medical, of Holocaust survivors.  These are in addition to an extra NIS 10 million from Government sources in 2008.

Prime Minister Olmert accepted the committee’s broad and inclusive definition for Holocaust survivors.

Prime Minister Olmert said: "We are correcting a 60-year-old blight.  Holocaust survivors living in Israel are entitled to live respectably without reaching a situation in which it is beyond their means to enjoy a hot meal.  The neglect of successive governments will not continue.  It is important to see to it that Holocaust survivors receive these supplements and are able to live honorably."