Intensifying Protest

The protest is intensifying: the day centers for seniors will be closed

Senior centers will be closed today due to a protest over the lack of an updated tariff since 2021 that they receive from the Ministry of Welfare. The CEO of the Association of Organizations for Seniors stated, "We see no intention on the part of the Minister of Welfare to resolve the crisis"

(photo without credit)

Senior centers announced today (Tuesday) that they are intensifying their struggle against the Ministry of Welfare and will go on strike tomorrow (Wednesday), shutting down the centers.

The decision to strike the senior centers was made in response to allegations from the Association of Elderly Organizations and Matav Association against Minister of Welfare Ya'akov Margi, claiming that the ministry, under his leadership, has not updated the rate paid to them by the state since 2021. Last month, they initiated a warning strike, stating, "We have not seen any intention from the Ministry of Welfare to resolve the budgetary crisis."

Following this decision, the senior centers will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday), and services will not be provided. In Israel, there are approximately 180 senior day centers that serve around 15,000 elderly individuals. Various associations argue that, "The budget for the senior centers is not anchored in the basic budget, which makes proper and stable management of the centers difficult. Instead, it is budgeted based on a rate that has not been updated since 2021 and is paid according to the number of visitors to the day center." According to them, "The failure to update the rate has caused significant financial deficits estimated in millions of shekels, to the point that some centers will not be able to continue operating independently until the end of 2023 in the current situation."

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CEO of the Association of Organizations for the Elderly: "Government offices are passing responsibility between them"

Shmuel Kedar, CEO of the Association of Organizations for the Elderly, emphasizes the importance of day centers: "Day centers for the elderly provide care and alleviate loneliness for thousands of seniors throughout the country. Due to the critical importance of these centers to the elderly population, it was expected that the warning strike we conducted last month would bring the Minister of Welfare and the Welfare Ministry to the table to provide practical solutions to the crisis as soon as possible," he says.

Furthermore, Kedar points a finger of blame at senior government officials: "In practice, we do not see any progress or intention to resolve the budget crisis of the day centers. Instead, they are shifting responsibility between the Treasury, Welfare, and Labor Ministries. We would be happy to return to normal operations soon, but in the current budget situation of the day centers, we have no choice, and we will not relent until the crisis is resolved," he states.

Lior Strassberg, CEO of the Matav Association, said, "Unfortunately, in recent years, the day center tariff has been played around with dramatically, and it is time to take action and prevent the collapse of the day centers in Israel. We are determined to fight for the preservation and strengthening of day center activities. We call upon the Minister of Welfare and Social Security to urgently work towards a solution to the crisis."

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