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Thousands of Israeli Elderly Forgo Heat and Food

Poor elderly woman Olivier Fitoussi

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) recently took a survey to see how many of the elderly in Israel need assistance with heating their homes in the winter. Sadly, tens of thousands of elderly go without heating or food in the winter because they simply cannot afford these basic necessities.

“For the elderly, giving up food, medications or heating can sometimes be a death sentence,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ...

According to the poll, 18 percent of the elderly population go without home heating, while 16% forgo basic necessities, particularly food, to pay for heat. A third of all elderly citizens must forgo either heating, hot water, food, medicine or other needs for financial reasons the study found.

Approximately 40% of those who forgo heating in the winter, amounting to some 59,000 people, have to do so frequently or very frequently, according to the poll...

According to IFCJ, the results “underscore that this winter’s cold, coupled with rising living costs, put major sections of the country’s population at risk,” and that the “supplemental incomes and pensions” granted to vulnerable citizens and the elderly “do not go far enough” in meeting their basic needs.

In related news, Haaretz reports on the dire circumstances of many impoverished Israelis this winter:

A homeless man in his 50s was found dead on a park bench in Bat Yam Thursday morning, apparently of hypothermia, the fifth hypothermia case this week...

Of the four other cases reported by Magen David Adom this week, another was in Bat Yam, where an 88-year-old man was found Wednesday freezing in his apartment and hospitalized in serious condition. Another was in Ariel, on Monday, where a 6-day-old baby was hospitalized with severe hypothermia and later released. In Petah Tikva a 63-year-old man was found lying on the floor in his home and was hospitalized with moderate hypothermia. Another homeless man, from Rishon Letzion, was taken to Assaf Harofeh Hospital, Tzrifin with slight hypothermia.

Magen David Adom called on people to keep in close touch with elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they are healthy and not in need on cold winter days. According to a survey by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews through the Cartographic Institute, one out of every five elderly people in Israel has to forgo heating because of economic need.

Tags: IFCJ

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