Shoah survivor payments could depend on budget cuts, PMO director warns

A decision by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On to increase the monthly stipend of some 43,000 Holocaust survivors may be conditional on the cabinet’s approval of across-the-board cuts to the 2009 state budget, Ra’anan Dinur, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said Wednesday.

Dinur was addressing the Knesset State Control Committee on the decision reached Monday by Olmert and Bar-On to implement all of the recommendations of the Dorner State Commission of Inquiry into the government’s handling of the survivors.

Dinur told the committee the cabinet would vote on the recommendations on Sunday. One of the key recommendations was to increase the monthly stipend of about 43,000 survivors to the level of 75 percent of the stipend given by the German government to recipients of its restitution payments.