Study: 1 in 4 elderly below poverty line

Knesset Welfare committee discusses findings on International Day for Elderly.

poverty garbage 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
poverty garbage 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
According to statistics published on Monday, Israel ranks among the worst in the Western world in poverty rates among the elderly. The Knesset research department published its study on the occasion of the first International Day for the Elderly. Also in celebration of the Day for the Elderly, the over-60 Olympics was launched in Jerusalem Monday. The Finance and Welfare Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss the findings of the study and to confer on how to improve the conditions of the country's elderly population. The study found that one in every four elderly Israelis lives below the poverty line. The frequency of poverty among the elderly is significantly higher than among the general population, according to the study, with 60% of elderly defined as "poor," compared to 30% of the general population. Also, 14% of elderly people surveyed said that they had no one to turn to in case of crisis. The Pensioners Union demanded Monday that the government increase its allotments of aid to the elderly, many of whom are ranked among Israels poorest citizens. Elderly Olympics underway in Jerusalem The union numbered increased pensions, cancellation of budget cuts for medical annuities, and boosting the budget funds for old age homes, among their demands. In celebration of the International Day for the Elderly, Jerusalem held its second annual over-60 "Elderly Olympics." The event, organized by the city municipality, the Joint Distribution Committee and the Israel Association of Community Centers, take place over a two-day period. It includes a 100-meter race, 3-kilometer and 10-kilometer runs, petanque games among dozens of other competitions. Among the roughly 250 competitors are some of Israel's great athletes, who in their younger days won various medals and honors in Israel and internationally for their athletic achievements. The oldest of the competitors is a seasoned 93 years old. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky fired the symbolic opening gunshot to launch the races at the starting line of the 10-kilometer run Monday morning.