Female Knesset Members 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ten female MKs, including two ministers, and dozens of female activists gathered
in the Knesset on Tuesday to protest a Finance Ministry recommendation to
increase the age of retirement for women from 62 to 67.
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Female MKs from
Likud, Kadima, Israel Beiteinu, Meretz and Independence, as well as Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin, male MKs from Meretz and UTJ’s Moshe Gafni, attended the
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Agriculture Minister
Orit Noked were also in attendance.
Activists packed the conference room
and dressed in red to symbolize a “red line” that had been crossed, after the
government suggested increasing the retirement age as a way to save
MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), who organized the
“emergency conference” with MK Zahava Gal- On (Meretz), was met with a round of
applause after saying: “We won’t allow the retirement age to go
“Maybe we should be like eskimos, that put the elderly on an iceberg
and send them into the sea, but we’re not that kind of society,” Kirschenbaum
said. “People see their pension as the light at the end of the tunnel; we can’t
push that light even further away. Why should people who can’t afford to eat
have to wait so many years for a pension?” she asked.
"It is no
coincidence that there are women here from the coalition and the opposition, as
well as ministers,” MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said. “This is not a political
battle. Every woman in the Knesset is part of this battle.”
pointed out that women, on average, make lower salaries than men, and said that
women have “double the workload,” because they are “balancing work at home and
taking care of children with employment in an open market.” The Likud MK
proposed a bill earlier this week to keep the retirement age at 62, which
garnered signatures from 28 MKs.
Livnat said “inequality is an
inseparable part of a woman’s job. We live in an unequal world.
there’s progress, but it’s slow and inefficient,” she said.
that, while women would not be able to receive a pension until age 67, according
to the new recommendation, many women are unable to find work at that age, and
are left unemployed.
“Only half of women over age 50 work full time, as
opposed to 88 percent of men,” she explained.
Livnat also said the
Ministerial Committee for the Status of Women has discussed this topic, and that
Noked and Minister Without Portfolio Bennie Begin support her in opposing a
higher retirement age.
Gafni, chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee,
would not say his opinion on the matter outright, but hinted strongly that,
should it reach his committee, it would be unlikely to pass.
a coalition of women’s and human rights groups including Na’amat, Women’s
International Zionist Organization, Mahut Center, Itach, the Israel Women’s
Network, the Adva Center and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, women
still constitute the weakest sector in the workforce and those over the age of
50 face serious problems finding jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Forcing
them to wait longer until they can retire means they will have to spend more
years in low-earning jobs.Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.