Gil MKs under fire from rights group

"They only care about their positions and not about who they represent."

April 26, 2006 23:46
2 minute read.
Gil MKs under fire from rights group

Gil pensioners 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


After the announcement Wednesday that the Gil Pensioners Party had signed its coalition agreement with Kadima, the head of elderly rights organization Ken Lazaken (Yes to the Elderly) slammed the party's representatives for already failing to keep their pre-election promises to make real improvements in the situation of Israel's 700,000 pensioners. Natan Levon, chairman of Ken Lazaken told The Jerusalem Post that Gil MKs were "only worried about themselves and their positions in the government and did not care about the people they went to the Knesset to represent." He said that before the elections politicians across the board had signed a declaration promising to fight for pensioners' rights in the areas of economic aid and health, but that in the month since the election "all we have heard in the media is fighting over portfolios." "We still have not received any sign that the incoming Knesset will deal with the wide-ranging issues facing the country's pensioners," Levon said earlier in the day, just prior to the organization's press conference in Tel Aviv. "Both the pensioners party and Labor promised that they would restore the cuts that have taken place in pensioners' benefits over the past nine years, but all we hear in the media is talk about portfolios. Nothing is clear, nothing is concrete." MK Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, No. 2 on the Gil list, responded to Levon's comments by saying that the party had already sent out information to rights groups outlining what the party, which won an unexpected seven mandates in the March 28 election, had already achieved in the political arena. "Their demands are wide-ranging; there is no way we can fix the problems of the last 10 years in one meeting," stated Ben-Yizri. Wednesday afternoon the party announced that it had signed the coalition agreement with Kadima. Under the agreement, party chairman Rafi Eitan is to be appointed to the new post of minister for senior affairs, while Ben-Yizri would take over the Health Ministry portfolio. The agreement signed after a four-hour meeting at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan promises Gil NIS 650 million for its causes and an additional NIS 100 million that will be added to 2007 state budget. "The amount is still not enough to replace what was taken away from pensioners over the past nine years," said Levon. According to statistics gathered by Ken Lazaken, of the 700,000 elderly people in Israel, 25 percent live under the poverty line. This number is an increase of 4% from five years ago. Only 24% of elderly households enjoy a pension and more than 150,000 elderly are eligible for food relief. The statistics also indicate that 45,000 people visit soup kitchens daily. At the press conference, the organization called for three basic issues to be met by the new government: restoration of benefits for the elderly, including a special package for disabled elderly and a twice-a-year raise in the amount of the basic pension; reforms in the health basket to include financial aid for institutionalized elderly and financial aid to help pay for day-to-day caregivers and essential equipment such as hearing aids and glasses. "We hope the parties will return to the pensioners of this country the full rights that they deserve," said Levon.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town