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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 12:57 GMT
Holocaust survivors 'in poverty'
Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman shows his prison number tattooed on his arm
Some Holocaust survivors are desperately poor, a support group says
A Holocaust survivor's support group has said 40% of survivors in Israel are living below the poverty line, Israel Radio has reported.

Most of the 170,000 people affected emigrated from the former Soviet bloc and now get little financial help.

Zeev Factor, the chairman of the Holocaust Survivors' Welfare Fund, says many survivors get no pensions and have to live off $390 a month.

Israel officially sets the poverty line at an income of $400 a month.

Mr Factor said his fund, which provides welfare and medical assistance, was "running out" of money.

"These people live off 1,800 shekels ($390) [per month] and are today extremely old and many of them in precarious health condition," he told Israel Radio.

Inequality

Holocaust survivors aged over 65 who arrived in Israel in the last 10 years from eastern Europe have found themselves lacking financial support from both their homelands and Israel, Mr Factor said.

He added that survivors who arrived in Israel after World War II from the West can be entitled to pensions from international Jewish organisations and the Israeli, German, Austrian and Swiss governments.

Israel's parliament approved a bill earlier this month that would give survivors an extra $11 million of support for rent and prescription medicines.

However, the bill will only become law if it passes two more readings scheduled to be held after March's general election.

The Israeli finance ministry says it provides $326 million of support to Holocaust survivors every year.


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