Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community


By COLIN ELTERMAN (Victim's spokesperson)

We refer to articles appearing in the Australian media to the effect that there will be "$20m for Maccabi bridge victims."

Various clarifications to these articles must be made. There is no basis that the civil litigation in Israel will be resolved in the short term.

Mr Ehud Stein does not represent all of the very seriously injured victims including three of the families whose loved ones were killed in the Disaster and Sasha Elterman. In the circumstances, whilst Mr. Stein is at liberty to estimate the amount of damages likely to be paid to the victims he represents, he of course is obviously not able to speculate for those who he does not represent as he is not fully apprised of the extent of injuries and
damages relating to such plaintiffs.

In relation to the State of Israel's position, the legal representative for the State in the District Court in Haifa on August 31 1999 denied that the State of Israel would fully cover any gap between compensation as assessed or ordered and the insurance cover available. At this point in time, the State's commitment is very vague and is based upon moral and not legal responsibility. (In essence the State, without admitting legal liability has agreed to act as some sort of "compensator of last resort" but without any commitment as to amount). Furthermore, any payment by the State of Israel will only be made after all insurers have exhausted their insurance cover.

The victims most seriously affected by the Disaster will besides monetary compensation, continue the campaign for the resignations of the President and the Chairman of Maccabi World Union, an overhaul of Maccabi World Union and to make Maccabi World Union account for what happened. To this day, now after two years, Maccabi World Union has failed to acknowledge that it had a hand in the Disaster. Until this occurs, Maccabi Australia should maintain its boycott of the next Maccabiah.

In addition, Maccabi Australia, represented by Mr. Stein, very recently filed a claim against its parent body, the Maccabi World Union for recovery of approximately $300,000 for recovery of monies that Maccabi Australia has expended relating to the Bridge Disaster. Despite demand, Maccabi World Union has failed to honour this commitment.

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