(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Government today (Sunday), 4 November 2007, approved the comprehensive plan to assist the needy elderly and Holocaust survivors in Israel – NIS 1 billion in 2008, which will increase to approximately NIS 2 billion in 2010. The plan, which was formulated by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Pensioners Affairs Ministry, is designed to meet the needs of the older population in Israel.

In the framework of the plan, there will be an approximately NIS 1 billion supplement for support payments for the elderly, which all elderly in the State of Israel receive. Also, NIS 500 million will be allocated to the needy elderly. In recent months, the PMO and the aforesaid ministries have carried out comprehensive work in order to find a way to allow the elderly in Israel to receive State assistance regardless of their countries of origin and the context from which they emigrated.

Therefore, criteria of age and housing ownership have been set, according to which an aid ceiling will be set. Thus, for example, elderly over 80 who do not own an apartment, will receive a monthly supplement of NIS 500. Elderly over 80 who own an apartment will receive a monthly supplement of NIS 280.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "This corrects an historic injustice. For 60 years, the State has not taken significant steps to properly assist Holocaust survivors. The Government’s decision to give priority to needy elderly via increasing their income support payments is an act of social justice that gives credence to our statements that this a budget with compassion."

PMO Director-General Ra’anan Dinur said: "The overall cost of the plan is NIS 2 billion. NIS 1 billion will be provided in 2008, NIS 600 million in 2009 and NIS 400 million in 2010. 8,000 Holocaust survivors who have yet to receive any monthly compensation will begin to receive it in January 2008, retroactive to October 2007."