The clinic for the rights of the Elderly and Holocaust survivors
Nurturing the Elderly and Holocaust Survivors
As is the case in the rest of the Western world, the numbers of elderly in Israel are on the increase. Today, the elderly make up 10% of the general population. Bar-Ilan University's Legal Aid Clinic for Holocaust Survivors and the Elderly is dedicated to securing the lawful rights of Israel's remaining Holocaust survivors and the elderly, and to making the country's legal system more responsive to their needs, so that they can spend the twilight years of their lives with dignity and self-fulfillment. Bar-Ilan's Clinic for Holocaust Survivors and the Elderly aims to serve this sector of Israeli society, to be "the voice of the unheard" with guidance and advocacy in the areas of finances, pensions, health, housing, nutrition, medicine and well-being today and in the future.
Survivors of the Holocaust living in Israel today number about 200,000. In recognition of their tremendous physical, psychological and spiritual suffering, they are entitled to assistance and support from various official bodies, including the Government of Germany, Israel's Ministry of Finance and National Insurance Institute, the Claims Commission, and others. However, in reality many of them do not receive their entitlements. Sometimes this is due to their own lack of awareness of their rights, while in other cases it is the difficult and cumbersome bureaucratic claims’ process which stands in their way, often appearing to be a deliberate policy of foot-dragging. The Clinic advocates for those who have claims against the government, the private sector, or individuals, and can neither navigate the legal system alone nor afford the high cost of representation. These people would otherwise suffer significant, or even ruinous, damages
The staff and students in the Clinic for Holocaust Survivors and the Elderly currently work on three levels:
- Individual Legal Assistance:
- Hot Line
- Outreach Activities Conducting lectures to inform the elderly and their families of their legal rights and to make them aware of the assistance they can receive from the Clinic; reaching out to clients who cannot come to Bar-Ilan by going to where they live and meeting them there.
- Providing legal advice and taking legal action on behalf of Holocaust survivors and elderly people.
- Internet Site
- Advancing Policy:
- Lobbying for positive change in legislation and in the legal system itself, through appeals to the High Court of Justice and the Knesset
- Knesset committees
- Conducting applied research aimed to generate policy recommendations regarding Holocaust survivors, elderly citizens and the state of the legal system.
- Drafting letters and appeals to authorities
- Raising Public Awareness:
- Conferences, roundtables, and events open to the general public regarding pressing issues of policy that do not receive
- Conducting lectures for the general public to raise awareness.
- Distributing information to rights organizations, social workers, individuals, and more.
As a general principle, the Clinic is committed to raising awareness and to cultivating interaction and creating an inter-generational bridge between the younger generation and the Holocaust survivors and the elderly.