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Israeli comptroller cites ‘many flaws’ of restitution firm

JTA

January 3, 2011 | 4:54 pm

A company established by Israel’s Knesset to return or distribute assets belonging to Holocaust survivors and their heirs has been deficient and slow, a state comptroller’s report said.

The report, released Monday, found “many flaws” in the activities of the Company for the Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, which was established in 2006. The flaws include not searching actively enough for heirs,  failing to formulate a long-term policy to detect the needs of and help Holocaust survivors, and granting millions of shekels to other organizations established to assist Holocaust survivors that were not eligible to receive the funds.

The report found that the company failed to advertise its assets globally, as it was charged to do three months after it was established, beginning its international campaign three years late, in April 2010.

“Returning the assets of Holocaust victims to their heirs is a moral duty, however it has not been done for years,” the report said. “Repairing the defects, in a short time frame, could slightly repair the injustice that has been done to the owners of the assets and their heirs, and to help Holocaust survivors in their last years of life.”

In response, the company noted in a statement that the report only covered the company’s work until 2009.

“From that day until today, the company has made several important steps to promote the goals for which it was established—locating and returning assets to Holocaust survivors and heirs, assisting Holocaust survivors who need help, and supporting educational and memorial activities,” according to the statement.

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