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Medical Aid Fund Turns Away Holocaust Survivors

A fund that helps Israeli Holocaust survivors pay medical expenses told recipients that it would stop receiving applications until next year, citing an overflow of requests.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported that the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel this week suspended the transfer of funds to over 8,000 survivors eligible for benefits.

The group has been receiving 100-150 such requests every day this year and has so far paid out $7.7 million to 9,100 applicants. The Foundation’s dedicated budget for such reimbursements has a shortfall of $5.1 million, Ynet reported.

The fund reimburses low-income survivors for medical bills of up to NIS 4,000 (roughly $1,000), which they have already paid out of their own pockets. The reimbursements cover dental services, hearing aides and prescription glasses.

Established in the 1990s, the foundation is funded by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which covers 60% of its budget. Another 30 percent comes from the Israeli Ministry of Finanace, and the rest comes from other donors.

The organization’s overall budget was $112.5 million this year.

Rony Kalinsky, the foundation’s general manager, blamed the government for the budget shortage, according to Ynet. The Finance Ministry said that it had increased its contribution in recent years.

The Foundation operates independently of the state.

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