The aid is being given “in recognition of the activities of SLA veterans for Israel and taking into account their economic distress.”
By Jack Gold, World Israel News
The Ministry of Defense has formulated a plan to grant former members of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) who live in Israel funds to purchase homes, Israel Hayom reported Monday.
The plan will be brought to the Cabinet for approval in the coming days, the report said.
Each SLA veteran will be entitled to NIS 500,000 towards housing. The grant will be provided over the course of the next five years.
With some 300 eligible veterans, the aid is estimated to cost a total of NIS 150 million.
The former SLA fighters and family members live mostly in northern Israel.
The aid is being given “in recognition of the activities of SLA veterans for Israel and taking into account their economic distress,” the proposal indicates. It is being done “in deep appreciation for their work for the state of Israel, and taking into account the economic distresses experienced by most of them, particularly the housing issue.”
According to the defense ministry, 18 years after the IDF’s withdrawal from Lebanon, a significant number of SLA veterans living in Israel face difficulties of absorption and suffer from a difficult economic situation. In light of this, “and out of a sense of responsibility for the fate of SLA veterans who linked their fate with that of the State of Israel,” they will be granted a one-time sum of NIS 500,000 for the purchase of an apartment.
In May 2000, the IDF withdrew from south Lebanon and about 7,000 SLA members and their families, surprised and furious, marched on the border fence. Israel took them in, but their integration into Israeli society was not a success story. In light of the many difficulties encountered, thousands have already left the country for other destinations, mostly Germany, while others have even returned to Lebanon to be tried and sent to jail for short periods of time.
In April 2006, the Knesset’s Finance Committee approved the payment of NIS 40,000 per family to SLA veterans, payable over seven years. The SLA vets are also entitled to other forms of financial support from the government.