update deskOctober 7

Bereaved Oct. 7 families say red tape a terrible burden

Survivors demand compensation similar to that provided after the 2021 Meron crowd crush disaster.

A man whose father was murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 searches the rubble of his home for family mementos in Kibbutz Be'eri, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Chen Schimmel/Flash90.
A man whose father was murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 searches the rubble of his home for family mementos in Kibbutz Be'eri, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Chen Schimmel/Flash90.

Nearly five months have passed since Oct. 7, yet many of the bereaved families report ongoing bureaucratic difficulties in obtaining proper compensation and have petitioned the Knesset for assistance. Some of the family members went so far as to claim that if the process isn’t sped up, people will die.

During a recent hearing by the Special Committee for Public Petitions in the Knesset on the subject, several family members told the lawmakers about the problems they face.

Itzik Ben Lulu, whose son was murdered at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, told the committee, “My daughter found out that her brother was murdered on TikTok, and that will remain with her for the rest of her life. I pay 3,500 shekels [$979] a month for each child for psychologists and psychiatrists, while there are no available appointments for treatment via our health provider.”

Another family member, Noa Prod, said, “My mother and sister were murdered inside their home while I didn’t know their condition, and no one came to save them. I don’t live in [Kibbutz] Kfar Aza and am [therefore] not entitled to anything despite having small children and being a single mother unable to work. I ask you to see that we are collapsing now and help us before we can’t lift ourselves up at all.”

Speed up the process

Knesset member Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism), who chairs the committee, announced a pivotal move in favor of the families.

“Similar to the Meron disaster—we will introduce a bill to consider the events of Oct. 7 ‘irregular’ and therefore speed up the process of allowing family members of the victims to receive special compensation,” he said.

“We need to study the existing legislative gaps and respond accordingly. There are many hardships among the families of the victims and those injured, and they need to be provided with the proper and correct response,” he added.

“Israel is dealing with an event unlike any since the establishment of the state,” Pindrus continued, and the establishment of a committee of the directors general of government ministries is critical for synchronizing between the various offices.

In a sign of political consensus on the matter, MKs Karin Elharar and Matti Sarfati Harkavi (Yesh Atid) echoed Pindrus’s statements and called for the government to step in and pass legislative amendments allowing for a broader response to the victims’ families. 

Attorney Shlomi Mor, who represented the National Insurance Institute at the committee meeting, explained the institute’s stance by saying, “We work according to the law of compensations for victims of hostility. … There is a need for the establishment of a comprehensive forum of all relevant [government] offices on the subject and for passing legislative amendments.”

Or Tzubari, director of the “Iron Swords” department at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, summed up the meeting by saying, “The government’s decision regarding the treatment of the party survivors needs to be addressed, and in parallel, the process of accompanying the families should be improved and streamlined. In all matters of accompanying the families, the rehabilitation officer at the Ministry of Welfare is responsible, and we will assist both in terms of making the services more accessible and in terms of providing the services themselves.”

In light of the serious and urgent need for assistance, both financial and professional, by the bereaved family members, the committee promised to do what it could to expedite matters.

However, weary family members expressed concern regarding how quickly any such assistance would be received and whether it would be enough to stem the tide of the damage being incurred by those who have lost loved ones.

“If someone doesn’t wake up, we will lose many people; I personally know two brothers who tried to commit suicide. In the end, everything here boils down to money, and if we wait for another committee, people will die from sorrow and clinical depression,” Ben Lulu said.

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