Thousands more Holocaust survivors in Israel will receive benefits under a law just passed by the Knesset.

The law received its third and final reading and was passed by unanimous vote on Monday, Feb. 10.

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The law does several things: first, it makes eligible all 18,500 Israelis who survived the death camps and the ghettos during World War II, not just the 6,000 who had already been receiving welfare assistance; and second, survivors will receive the benefit in cash, instead of in vouchers for services. The benefit amounts to more than $1,000 per individual.

The cost of the program is estimated at 6o million NIS.

The new law also includes a retroactive payment to 2013.

Many elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel, as well as in the United States and other countries, live in poverty.

“This bill will benefit survivors, but it’s a fraction of what is needed,” Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud Beytenu) said when the panel approved it last month.

“We need to make sure Holocaust survivors get all they deserve,” he added.

JTA content was used in this report.

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