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Originally published Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM

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Ex-lawmaker to chair Israel WWII survivors' group

A prominent ex-lawmaker and Holocaust survivor has been appointed to lead Israel's umbrella organization of Holocaust survivors.

The Associated Press

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JERUSALEM —

A prominent ex-lawmaker and Holocaust survivor has been appointed to lead Israel's umbrella organization of Holocaust survivors.

Colette Avital, originally from Romania, was a longtime Israeli diplomat, serving as consul general in New York City.

As a member of parliament, she headed an inquiry identifying properties in Israel owned by European Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel represents 50 organizations that assist Holocaust survivors. The organization's previous head, the late Noah Flug, fought governments to compensate survivors.

Six million Jews were killed by Nazis in World War II. Fewer than 200,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel. Some live in poverty.

Avital told The Associated Press on Thursday she fears governmental budget cuts could reduce assistance for needy survivors.

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