Ehud Olmert demonstrated new depths of cynicism today, depths which can only be demonstrated by a person to who clings to his position with less public support than a statistical margin of error. He declared in the Knesset “we are correcting a wrong that has lasted 60 years, which has not yet been resolved. The Holocaust survivors who reside in Israel are entitled to live with dignity here, without coming to the state where they cannot enjoy a warm meal.” What was the cause for this rousing declaration? The government had decided to add 83.33 shekels a month to the Holocaust survival stipend — about $19.30 — and even this will only commence in the 2008 budget.
This is, of course, only a government decision. It will require approval by the Knesset. The swift moving dudes in the Treasury have already declared that they will support a budgetary supplement of up to 520 Shekels per Couple — but only as of 2011. Let the wretches die a little, and stop being a drain on the public purse. The treasury cannot find the 240 million shekels to finance those 520 shekels per couple in 2008.
Of course, there is money. There is a lot of money. $15 billion of excess taxes to be exact. In other words, 62.5 times the required amount, and this is only from excess taxes collected this year.
Now is also a good time to state that the Israeli banks have been exploiting the Holocaust survivors and their descendents with a lack of humanity that even is Switzerland is cause for discomfort. It is also a good time to bring up that dark deal made by Ben Gurion, the deal the gave legitimacy for money, under which the State of Israel — allegedly, the heir of those persons murdered in the Holocaust –received a great deal of money and goods from West Germany, infringing on the rights of the survivors themselves. It is also appropriate to state again that the denazification of West Germany at the time was, how should I put it, only partial.
Ben Gurion gathered up human dust
To toss at the enemy’s eyes;
The road we paved to Jerusalem
Was paved on survivor’s bones.
Benjamin Haroshovsky, Peter the Great
The Holocaust survivors have always been used as objects by the Zionist movement and its rightful heir, the State of Israel. At first they were used in order to increase the immigration quotas, although the immigrants themselves were harassed by the society to which they had immigrated. Then they were used as an excuse to establish the state itself. After that, they were cannon fodder for its battles, not even knowing the language of the land and dying along the road to Jerusalem, in Latrun, crying “wasser, wasser!” and in the absence of water drinking the oil from their guns. After that, when they’d done their job, they were ordered into silence. They were an object of shame for those who stormed though Canaan to conquer it. The fifties were the decade when silence by day turned into howls by night. It was a generation which saw psychological treatment as a weakness, a stain – and they did not submit themselves to it. While all this was happening, Zionism completed the devastation of their culture, the Yiddish culture; it was “a foreign jargon”.
Later, when the Zionist ideology exhausted itself, and it became necessary to establish the Holocaust as a religion in its stead, they were commanded to speak – just as they had been commanded to be silent, beforehand. And they were as obedient to the new command as they had been to the old. And never mind that this speech, which turned them into the event that they had lived through, reopened wounds that had only barely sealed up with scar tissue. And then they became the ambassadors if Israel around the world, a world ordered to sit in silent shame and never dare to ask any questions.
And after the State picked their pockets and used them to the full extent possible – it threw them to the dogs. The only ray of light in this story is the decision taken by the Electric Company workers, who have undertaken not to cut off electricity for Holocaust survivors. Until now, apparently, Holocaust survivors who could not afford to pay their electricity bills were doomed to boil in the heat of summer and freeze in the winter cold.
Sixty thousand Holocaust survivors – about half of the total number of survivors living in Israel – live beneath the poverty line. And the Ministry of the Treasury abuses them year after year. After all, what can they do? Go on strike?
And now Ehud Olmert is pleased, because he’s added $19.30 a month to their budget. And this, according to the Prime Minister of Israel, is supposed to “right a wrong that has lasted sixty years”.
(Written by Yossi Gurvitz on 30 July 2007, translated by Dena Bugel -Shunra)