Rafi Eitan 88 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As the Knesset celebrated the International Day for the Elderly Tuesday, a leading pensioners' rights advocate in Jerusalem lashed out at the Gil Pensioners Party.
Even with seven representatives in the Knesset, not enough attention is being paid to pensioner issues, charged Natan Lavon, head of the Forum for the Elderly. Although it was only the second day of the Knesset's winter session, barely one-fourth of the MKs attended the scheduled plenum debate on pensioner affairs.
The Gil Party has misled the public into believing that they have accomplished much more than they have, said Lavon, and hopes to take credit for accomplishments that are not theirs.
Over the weekend, the Gil Party published full-page advertisements in several leading Israeli newspapers listing the "top ten achievements of the party." Numbers four through nine were all credited to Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, including more hospital beds and an increased health basket for the elderly.
Lavon, however, said that not only were several of the achievements "reworded and rephrased" for exaggeration, other achievements listed were actually accomplished by the Gil Party's predecessors.
"They claim to have added 500 beds for geriatrics, but that began long before them. It was the work of their predecessor, all they did was sign it in," said Lavon. "I am not saying that everything they do is bad, I'm just saying they don't do enough."
Gil Party chairman Rafi Eitan responded to Lavon's attacks by reminding the public that he has been in office less than a year. "In the short time, we have accomplished much. We are not the type of people to turn over tables and create chaosâ€¦ we are working slowly for the most possible change," said Eitan.
Earlier in the day, Eitan appeared at a meeting of the Knesset's Committee for Health, Welfare and Work, where he discussed raising the amount of money allocated pensioners for daily needs. Eitan promised to fight for a larger share of the 2008 state budget.