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Knesset Committee Focuses on War and the Elderly

'An old man falls on the ground, and no one is there to pick him up,' Minister laments at special hearing.
By Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 7/22/2014, 7:33 PM

Elderly Sderot man takes cover after siren
Elderly Sderot man takes cover after siren
Flash 90

The Knesset's Labor and Social Affairs Committee held a special session Tuesday, in a discussion on building a framework for preventing elder abuse - including during times of war. 

Committee chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) told the committee, "Today we bury our dead and continue to fight for the right to live a normal life in this country."

"Everyone, including the elderly, has the right to live peacefully," Katz continued. "A discussion on them and their needs cannot wait." 

Pensioners' Minister Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) told the hearing that the elderly cannot run to the shelter during an air raid siren, and are at greater risk for injuries. 

"The elderly are more vulnerable during the fighting, they run more slowly if at all and sometimes no family member is available [to help them]," he noted. "An old man falls to the ground and no one helps him back up." 

MK Itzik Shmuli (Labor) said, "This is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the elderly refuse to complain because of shame or fear. 40% of senior citizens are afraid of being attacked in the street."

"A picture of a [Holocaust] survivor, from Kibbutz Nir-Am [near Gaza], who has refused to leave her home despite the urgings of kibbutz leaders, does not leave my head," MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) added. "Her words echoed across the media: 'I am alone.' Who knows why she was alone?"

An elderly woman died in Haifa this month after collapsing on her way to shelter during an air raid siren.