Esther, 78, from central Israel, worked for decades in the municipality instead of her residence. It, unlike 52% of the elderly in Israel, has a modest pension arrangement, and in addition to the old-age pension, it also receives a monthly allowance for Holocaust survivors. Still, she finds it very difficult to survive financially, and cannot afford to run a home heating during the winter.
“I'm not poor, and I don't want to cry, but I live hand-in-hand. Everyone talks about the fact that every fifth adult in the country is poor, but you have to understand that people like me can barely survive everyday,” Esther tells Maariv.
It describes the plight of tens of thousands of Israelis like her, who are not included in the dry statistics of the poor elderly, and therefore do not receive an annual winter warming grant, which is only granted to seniors receiving income support. “It hurts me that I try not to heat the house and turn off any unnecessary electricity,” Esther adds. She was widowed by her partner several years ago, after it became embroiled in debt and left her nothing inherited. To this day she is treated with a disabled son in his 50s, who lives with her in her modest rental apartment. “I am recovering from cancer treatments, but I still suffer from side effects. I underwent surgery on both legs, and my vision is deteriorating as well. If I had my own apartment I would not have to transfer the entire allowance of a Holocaust survivor, NIS 5,000, to the rent. Money for a weekend therapist to help me. It only comes during the hours that Social Security covers, and I need it around the clock, because I'm barely functioning. That's why I need another NIS 2,000 a month that I don't have. ”
Esther sadly adds: “Why is the state not worried about the elderly who need help like me at home? If there was no Holocaust survivor allowance, I would be on the street, but it does not help me pay for the caregiver.”
MK Itzik Shmuli (Labor), who for years served as chairman of the Knesset lobby for senior citizens and initiated the law that the government adopted for granting an annual winter warming grant to poor senior citizens, told Maariv: “While Netanyahu is talking about economic power, senior citizens are sitting without Powerless and just freezing cold, sometimes even death, in houses that become cold traps. I have been able to legally pass heating grants to poor seniors, but must increase the amounts and also immediately stop the disconnection policy in the cold days. “