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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Pensioners Party was all about money and positions

A lot of Tel Avivians cast their vote for the Pensioners Party (Gil) thinking it was really concerned about 'social issues.' Many of those who did so thought that although the Pensioners Party did not define its goals, it would at least be concerned with pensioners' rights payments. But they were wrong.

The Pensioners Party proved yesterday that what they were really all about was getting a bunch of men in their 70's and 80's senior cabinet positions (read: MONEY) without having to work their way up through the major party system. In other words, they were out for themselves. The Pensioners Party merged yesterday with Kadima Achora, which will make it easier for Ehud Olmert to push his convergence surrender plan through the Knesset with the help of seven old men who are unlikely to live to see the consequences.

The Pensioners Party was blasted yesterday by the head of an organization that is truly concerned about pensioners' rights - Kein la'Zakein (Yes to the Elderly). Natan Levon, chairman of Kein la'Zakein 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."

"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."

Mind you, Levon said this after the coalition agreement between Kadima Achora was announced and before the eventual merger of the two factions was announced.

According to statistics gathered by Kein la'Zakein, 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.

There's a word in Hebrew for those who voted for the Pensioners Party. It's not a complimentary word. In fact, it's the one thing most Israelis strive not to be: "Friers" (A "frier" is someone that everyone uses for his advantage).

But then, what should anyone have expected from a party led by the guy who sold Jonathan Pollard down the creek?


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