Law and older people-the rise and fall of Israel's Senior Citizens' Act

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Within the broad and complex framework of those Israeli laws that relate to the social welfare of the older population, this article uses a case study approach to focus on Israel's Senior Citizens' Act of 1989. During its hitherto brief life, this law has undergone numerous transformations, additions, and deletions as well as successes and failures. At the time of its enactment, many hoped that this law would considerably bolster the rights of older people. Echoing legal and political theories of the 1980s, it seemed to reflect the fact that politicians were sensitive to the potential power of the pensioner vote, while echoing the approach to social engineering that advocated the use of the law both as a means for social change and a symbol of power. As of today, however, this article argues that the law has failed to realize what were declared to be its objectives. Instead of promoting social change and providing older people with political power, the Senior Citizens' Act has become an empty symbol that hides the fact that the older generation in Israel still lacks the real political power it needs in order to use the law to improve society's treatment of older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-375
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Aging and legislation
  • Elder law
  • Law and aging
  • Politics and aging
  • Seniors' rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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