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Jerusalem Life

| Israel's Best Kept Secret for Businesses: Hire Senior Citizens

Zev Stub    
Tuesday, 14 May 12:48 PM

Note: I asked Sybil to write this article after speaking ith her and several other pensioners. I've found that hiring pensioners can bring great value to a company. Besides that they have years of experience and wisdom, they are also inexpensive, as the employer does not have to pay bituch Leumi. 


by Sybil Kaplan

A couple of years ago, a new campaign started for senior citizens which did not sound very promising, despite its rather wacky name.

"Tuesdays in Suspenders" offered seniors discounts on movie tickets, certain purchases and museum entrances.

We are talking—Israel.

The article was entitled “So They Finally Recognized the Value of Seniors.”                                            

Julian Landau, an 80-year-old who came to Israel from the U.S. in 1969 and now is Jerusalem President  of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, which offers many services to seniors, spoke with your reporter candidly about this issue.

"The Israel government treats its citizens poorly," he stated, because the main thing it gives them--whether they are natives or immigrants--is a pension. But who can live on under 2,000 NIS a month?"

Actually, U.S. citizens who meet the requirements of the Social Security administration can also receive US Social Security.

In or out of the work force, seniors are guaranteed excellent health care, and its services are mandatory including primary care and special care, general hospitalization, rehabilitative care and ongoing treatments. Four health funds provide health services and offer supplementary health insurance.

If they worked in Israel, pension funds were deducted from their salary and are payable after retirement. For those who worked in Israel, left and then returned, today there is a new web site to find out if there is pension money waiting for you that was deducted in previous years 

 One important issue is "old age" is not what it used to be, because people up to the age of 80 and older are active and can contribute to the economy, as a survey revealed in April of 2012.

In an article entitled, "Senior citizen employment vital to Israeli economy," the survey by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies revealed that 30 per cent of Israeli senior citizens who are not working are able to work and their net employment would be worth 6.4 billion shekels in income.

A whopping 70% of Israel’s seniors want to work.  “Keeping them out of the labor force is clearly a great economic loss to Israel and a personal loss for each of them,” said Zev Golan, co-author of the study.

According to Keren Harel-Harari, the study’s other author. “Senior citizens are ignored, though many of them want to work and many of them were working until they were forced or encouraged not to.”

 In Jerusalem, there are a large number of senior citizen residences (where I lecture) and approximately ten have a sizeable number of English-speaking residents. These Batei Avot (Seniors Residences) are visited by volunteer members of the AACI at least once a month and every homebound member is visited on the eve of holidays, receiving a small gift.  

 In addition to the benefits accruing from membership in AACI itself, the Seniors Division conducts activities and programs of special interest to seniors and their needs. 

 New immigrant seniors receive an "absorption basket" of money upon arrival in the country and for a period of time over the next year or so. There are special ulpanim (language classes) for women over the age of 60 and men over the age of 65 which last for more months than for younger students, have less hours of classes, are geared to the older students and where teachers pay more attention to their needs. Apartment rental subsidies and mortgages are available to seniors, and there are various forms of housing available such as nursing homes, partial-support homes and retirement buildings.

Senior citizens can purchase monthly discounted transportation cards and frequently, if you ask, there are senior citizen discounts for other things.

So a word to employers, next time you have an opening, consider making it known that seniors are welcome to apply if qualified.

Sybil Kaplan is an active senior, experienced as an editor of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, and cookbooks in American English. She is author of 6 children’s books, an autobiography (Witness to History—Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel) and has compiled 9 kosher cookbooks (currently working on her 10th). As the “shuk lady,” she created and leads weekly walks in English in Machaneh Yehudah; she writes features on Jerusalem’s kosher restaurants, accompanied by her senior husband photographer for

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