It is an image that resists any attempt to throw it into the denial pile: the specter of Jews surviving the Holocaust only to go hungry in Israel.I'm sure that according to Norman Finkelstein, the Holocaust Industry had raised, not just millions but billions. Where is it all?
If it has done nothing else, the current election campaign has focused the public's radar on social problems which have gone unaddressed for years.
Every day, it seems, the human needs of unheralded Israelis come to light in a shocking new way. The case in point Thursday was the finding that some 40 percent of Holocaust survivors in Israel are living below the poverty line.
There are nearly 400,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, the nation with the largest population of survivors anywhere. Moreover, the medical and thus the financial needs of the population are growing, as even the youngest of the survivors are now well over 60.
The problem is particularly acute for about 170,000 who moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union over the past decade, and are now living in poverty. They are entitled neither to the monthly pensions sent other surviviors by the governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, nor the pensions supplied by Israeli and international Jewish organizations.
All of them arrived past the age of 65, and many are living alone in a nation whose inner workings are difficult to contend with even for the native-born and the young.
The Knesset has allocated millions to the fund, but much more assistance is urgently needed. The survivors may still have a few things to their name, but time is not one of them.
December 29, 2005
Holocaust survivors going hungry
There's an explosive headline. This kind of thing would reach the front pages of newspapers throughout the English speaking world if it wasn't for the fact that these holocaust survivors live in Israel. So only Ha'aretz carries the story.