Pensioners MK Sharoni Fails to Secure Majority to Raise Old-age Pensions

Moshe Sharoni (Pensioners' Party), heaps criticism on parties he says 'pretend' to have a social agenda.

The chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, MK Moshe Sharoni (Pensioners' Party), heaped criticism on parties he said "pretend" to have a social agenda, after he failed to secure a majority for a bill to increase old-age pension.

"The government of Israel today is anti-social, including Shas and the Labor Party. I'm not talking about Kadima ? they were never social," said Sharoni.

Sharoni spoke at a hearing on the bill, which proposes raising age-old pensions from 16 percent to 20 percent of the average Israeli salary. Sharoni decided to delay the vote on the bill after it became clear that it had no majority in the committee, due to the government's opposition to it and the requests of committee MKs to consult with their faction leaders before voting.

The hearing was rife with tension, and attended by dozens of pensioners. Before the vote was supposed to go ahead, the ruling coalition made a concerted effort to enlist MKs to block the vote.

Sharoni said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened Labor MK Colette Avital to freeze the agreement - meant to be signed on Wednesday - promising funds to Holocaust survivors, should she support the resolution.

"Parties that pretend to be social are actually anti-social. They had no right and no authority to slash the old-age budget and take money from pensioners that paid their whole lives and have a right to receive an honest pension," Sharoni said.