(JNS.org) The Netherlands Foreign Ministry is denying reports that it decided to stop making Holocaust reparations to survivors residing in Israel who are receiving equivalent benefits from the Israeli Finance Ministry, an allegation that was first publicized by the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday.
“These reports are incorrect,” the Embassy of the Netherlands to Israel wrote in a statement posted on its website. “It is in no way the intention of the Dutch government to stop these payments.”
This allegation is not the first time the Dutch government is embroiled in this controversy. Last year, the Dutch government decided to cut pension payments to a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor because she resides in a Jewish village in Judea and Samaria, later backtracking on the decision in response to protests by Holocaust survivor groups.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Holocaust survivors receiving a monthly payment from the Dutch government will no longer receive the payment from the Israeli Ministry of Finance.
"The Dutch government is trying to find a technical loophole to save a few bucks on the backs of Holocaust survivors, while the Israeli government announced the termination of the allowance," said 87-year-old Dutch Holocaust survivor Abraham Roth in testimony before the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday, reported Yedioth Ahronoth. Roth added that many Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors would rather give up Israeli reparations than reparations from the Netherlands.
"The Dutch have a responsibility to the survivors and the crimes committed in their territory, and they cannot shirk it. The two governments cannot deny their obligations towards the survivors," Roth said.
After being briefed on the renewed allegation against the Dutch government, Knesset Finance Committee members were outraged, with Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Foreign Ministry "intervene" on the matter with the Dutch government.
All Knesset members in attendance at Tuesday's Finance Committee meeting backed Gafni, with one MK saying, "There is consensus within the committee regarding the rights of Holocaust survivors and it is the State of Israel's duty to do everything possible to ensure they receive what they deserve,” Israel Hayom reported.