Gil - a party reaching out to the ages

Platform calls for decreasing the bureaucracy that prevents the elderly from receiving adequate care and services.

elderly 88 (photo credit: )
elderly 88
(photo credit: )
Gil is a single-issue party running in next month's elections which represents the interests of retired citizens. The party's platform calls for decreasing the bureaucracy that prevents the elderly from receiving adequate care and services, according to Nilly Richman, a spokesperson for a public relations firm representing the party. While the growing number of retirees makes them a potentially significant constituency, a recent report by the Social Worker Organization found that more than one in five of Israel's elderly have been abused by either a care giver or family member. Moreover, the organization discovered that "more than one in four elderly are unable to lead a dignified existence." The party, established in 1996, campaigned as an extension of the Labor Party in the past two elections. However, buoyed by success in Tel Aviv's municipal elections, and encouraged by statistics showing a substantial rise in the retired population, the party decided to run independently. Gil leader Rafi Eitan, 80, who was appointed only two weeks ago, was among those who set the operational foundations for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad. He also headed the team that apprehended Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires in May 1960 and brought him to trial in Jerusalem. In a written response to The Jerusalem Post, Eitan provided his vision for the party. "The retired people's party is an authentic representative of the enormous retired population of Israel. The era of trusting the large parties and getting disappointed by them is over. This time, we are taking care of ourselves." For the upcoming election, Gil is fielding 16 candidates and represents a variety of retirees' organizations from the military industry, El Al, the Ministry of Finance, city councils and teachers organizations. Richman noted that Gil has approached the heads of numerous retirement groups to garner additional support. Undaunted by skepticism that Israel's aging population has the political clout to support a senior's party, Richman believes that Gil is an option for more than just concerned seniors. "It is not only important for retired people to vote for Gil, because one day we will all need drugs... We want to make sure that every retired person will live with dignity and respect. We all deserve a decent way of life."