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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Again, Who are those pensioners?

During the Israeli election campaign, nobody paid too much attention to the pensioners on the Retirees Party list. It was considered by most to be a "joke" party, but boy were we all surprised when they ended up with a very healthy and youthful seven seats in the Knesset. Suddenly everybody began to ask: "Who are they?" and "What did they do when they were younger?"

Even though, they campaigned for better financial benefits for senior citizens, they, themselves are very well provided for. None of them are living on the less than minimum wage, which is the official "Bituach Le'umi," National Insurance payments for seniors who worked. They're all very well "connected" with generous pensions and investments from their high-ranking positions. And some are still very actively working and earning.

When push came to shove during their negotiations with Olmert and cronies, they quickly pushed their national pension demands off the table and shoved them under the rug. Their age peers are livid but not surprised. Those in the know are saying that the next step will be to officially join with Kadima, which is made up of like-minded pols.

Yes, party leader, Rafi Eitan, has his own legal problems, (thanks, Israel and the Sin of Expulsion for the tip). As Israeli spy master, he left his agent, J. J. Pollard to be arrested by the Americans and given the most outrageous punishment in the history of the United States. There is no legal precedent for Pollard's sentence, since he was working for an ally which was supposed to receive that information according to a signed agreement between the United States and Israel. Rafi Eitan's legal problems are from his private business interests.

And while we're at it, another MK of pension age, actually the oldest MK, Shimon Peres, also is under investigation for financial irregularities with his fund-raising. That's the tip of the golden iceberg considering the massive foreign donations his "peace center" receives.

They certainly aren't the "grandpas" we'd like to influence our youth.

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