The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved on Tuesday the recognition of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel as a public body, thus giving it access to data from the National Insurance Institute of Israel (NII) and the Population Registry.

The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims is a non-profit organization that is supported by state funds and money allocated from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The foundation funds additional nursing hours for survivors (2/3 financed by the German government and 1/3 by the Israeli government) and reimburses survivors for medical expenses incurred. The eligibility for the said aid is based on the eligibility for nursing care allowances from the NII.

Data presented to the Justice Committee by the foundation show that it helps some 70,000 Holocaust survivors, of which 26,000 receive nursing care; some 20,000 survivors are reimbursed for medical expenses incurred; 8,500 receive money for the purchase of distress buttons; 7,000 receive short-term nursing care after surgery or medical care. The foundation`s budget in 2013 stood at NIS 480 million.

Until now Holocaust survivors were required to present various documents that verify their eligibility to receive the said assistance. The direct transfer of data from institution to institution will save the survivors the trouble of obtaining the documentation. However, the new law permits the transfer of information only between public bodies.

The Protection of Privacy Law allows for the transfer of information from the databases of government offices to public institutions. The law authorizes the Justice Committee to recognize organizations as public institutions for the purpose of transferring such data.

The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims asked Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatenua) to issue an order stating that the foundation is a public institution so that it may receive information from the NII and the Population Registry. Minister Livni, in turn, asked Justice Committee Chairman David Rotem (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) to convene the committee during the Knesset`s recess in order to approve the order.