Claims Conference honoured

June 28, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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The Israeli Knesset has honoured the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for contributions made to the Jewish State to support Holocaust survivors.
The honour was presented to Claims Conference President Julius Berman and Executive Vice President Greg Schneider by Chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, MK Eli Alaluf.

“Thanks to the Claims Conference funding, the health and welfare infrastructure of the State of Israel has improved greatly and for that we thank you,” MK Eli Alaluf said.  “The Claims Conference legacy will remain for generations to come.”

Government ministers, members of Knesset and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony today, including Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman and Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel. Several advocates and survivor supporters attended as well, including Colette Avital, Chairwoman of the Center of Organisations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, a long-time board member of the Claims Conference, former Knesset member and Holocaust survivor.

“The Claims Conference support and funding has greatly improved the service in hospitals, in particular to Holocaust survivors, and helped improve their lives,” said Yaakov Litzman, Minister of Health. “The Claims Conference has done something even the organization itself could not fathom, and that is save and help extend the people’s lives.”

Over the last four decades, the Claims Conference has contributed $1.38 billion to survivor care in Israel. Contributions from the Claims Conference have included:

  • $940 million for home care hours
  • $109 million for renovating and establishing new wards in 18 general and geriatric hospitals
  • Nursing homes and units built on 63 kibbutzim and $155 million to 35 nursing homes across Israel
  • $42 million for sheltered housing units in 22 cities, from Nahariya in the north to Beer Sheeva in the south
  • $41 million for 107 day-centers, where survivors go for meals, company and social activities

“We have helped care for tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors and strengthened the modern State of Israel, leaving a legacy of care and a foundation for the future,” said Claims Conference President Julius Berman. “The partnership between the Claims Conference and the State of Israel, forged over the past 65 years, will continue for as long as Holocaust survivors need it.”

“These survivors, our heroes of the Shoah, are aging. We are in the last chapter of this work, making this the most important work we’ve done yet. We have a limited time to help those who are in dire need of our assistance,” said Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider.

“This is our last opportunity to provide these survivors with the dignity that was stolen from them early in life,” said Minister Gila Gamliel. “We are determined to improve the lives of the aging survivors, we must be their voice and act on their behalf. Let us not forget, not for one moment, that our heroes, the survivors, who have undergone untold horrors, are a vital part of our society. As we all know all too well, many of elderly survivors are in great need… The State of Israel, along with the Clams Conference, must offer them the help they need – to live out the remaining years in respect and dignity and with quality of life.”

With over 190,000 survivors, Israel has the largest population of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the world, an aging population with growing and unique needs. Program contributions made by the Claims Conference to Israel have not only elevated care for these survivors, but have improved geriatric care for all elderly across the Jewish state.

Robert Goot, a Sydney-based Director and Member of the Leadership Council of the Claims Conference, told J-Wire: “The recognition by the Knesset of the work of the Claims Conference is most welcome and entirely appropriate. The Claims Conference has for many decades provide funding and support to survivors of the Shoah throughout the world and particularly in Israel which has the largest survivor population.
” I have seen first hand in Israel and elsewhere the many ways in which the assistance of the Claims Conference operates and the services, infrastructure, benefits and assistance that it has provided and will continue to provide to survivors, most of whom sadly are now in the autumn of their years and in desperate need of the services that only the Claims Conference can provide.

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