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Elderly set list of demands Photo: Yaron Brener
Elderly set list of demands Photo: Yaron Brener
 
Saying no to privatization Photo: Yaron Brener
Saying no to privatization Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

Senior citizens demand social justice

Hundreds of senior citizens rally in Tel Aviv, express support of 'tent' protest and slam policy of privatization

Roi Mandel
Latest Update: 08.08.11, 14:25 / Israel News

Hundreds of senior citizens rallied outside the Government Compound in Tel Aviv on Sunday in a show of support for the "tent" protest. The protestors also set a list of their own demands and called for social justice.

 

The senior citizens carried signs calling for an improvement in their living conditions which read "Do not cast me aside in my old age" and "Don't touch granddad's pension."

 

 

Meanwhile, it was announced Monday that the Knesset will break its recess next week to hold a special debate regarding the housing protest. The Kadina faction submitted the required number of signatures for a debate titled "Netanyahu's tax government is disconnected from the people and dismisses its social protest."

 

One of the speakers noted that the elderly consume more medications and basic goods than the average citizen, and that nearly one third of all senior citizens are regarded as poor.

 

"Senior citizens are against privatization," another speaker declared. "Privatization chucked 40-45-year-old workers to the streets. The government's policy will rob our children and grandchildren of their livelihood."

 

One protestor said: "We worked for 30 years and can't help our kids. Where is the justice in that? Where is the government?"

 

Senior Citizens Association Chairman Gideon Ben-Yisrael said: "We are launching a campaign for our rights in the field of health in addition to pension. I say to the tent dwellers – we want our children and grandchildren to get housing too."


Supporting housing protestors (Photo: Yaron Brener)

 

In an attempt to enlist the help of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's father, Benzion, he said: "I turn to Bibi's father, a senior citizen past the age of 100. I ask you to pressure your son into taking care of senior citizens."

 

Israel's senior citizens' allowance stands at NIS 1,444 (roughly $409) per person per month, and NIS 2,111 (roughly $598) per couple per month. It is the lowest allowance out of all OECD countries, excluding Mexico, also in relation to average salary, GNP and cost of living.

 

While Israel's retirement age for women, 62, is relatively close to the OECD average, the same figure for men, 67, is the highest in the West alongside Iceland and Norway.

 

It should be noted that some of the coalition parties, including the Likud, promised to double senior citizens' allowances to NIS 2,400.

 

Stav Spivak, Tani Goldstein and Moran Azulay contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 08.08.11, 13:29

 

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