As part of my estates and wills practice which has become an elder law practice, I have come across a lot of information beneficial to retirees and senior citizens in Israel. In this article I will share some of the special discounts and rights available to seniors as well as certain discounts offered by non-governmental and/or totally private sources.
First, I will address some of the discounts given by private entities – because I find that these are the things (which are not income related but solely age related) that are more applicable to people who retire to Israel, from Western countries.
Movies. You are able to get 50% off of any Israeli movie ticket. This is a great way to try out some of your Hebrew. Additionally, if you go to the movies on Tuesday, there is an even better discount due to an initiative by the ministry for senior citizens called ‘Tuesday and Suspenders’ – in Hebrew ‘shlishi b’shlaykes’ שלישי בשל”יקס. On Tuesdays in movie theaters throughout the country the price of admission is only 10 NIS upon presentation of your senior citizenship card.
Banks. There are discounts and/or special benefits at banks for people with a senior citizenship card. For example, senior citizens can make four banking actions a month. When you deposit checks, withdraw cash or make a transfer via a banker or via telephone you’re only charged the reduced rate of an online transaction. However, the real saving is that every bank has to offer you an account for only ten shekels a month that lets you do up to ten banking transactions a month without a teller – things like online transfers, ATM withdrawals, sending money to somebody’s telephone, etc. Again, to get these benefits you have to go to your local branch, show them the senior citizen card and ask them what you’re entitled to at their particular bank.
Theater tickets. Senior citizens get a 50% discount when purchasing theater tickets (with their senior citizenship card) at the following theaters: HaBima, HaCamry. Bet Lisin, Haifa Theater, Be’er Sheva Theatre, The Han (Jerusalem), YidishShpiel, and Gesher.
General Assistance for senior citizens. There are also all sorts of organizations that offer general assistance for senior citizens. I know it’s in Hebrew but I’m putting a link that I found that has list of all the organizations that help senior citizens https://tinyurl.com/rzecmmb. There may be even more private entities that give discounts to senior citizens that I don’t know about. It is always worthwhile asking (I have even heard of people getting discounts on an ad hoc basis in some private businesses). In any case, if you find any business that has a policy for a senior’s discount, please write to me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add it into this guide.
Next, take a look at some of the governmental or quasi-governmental organizations that give discounts to seniors.
Municipal Libraries. Seniors are entitled to a 50% discount on library fees.
Museums. Seniors can get a 50% discount on the entrances to a lot of museums. Some examples are: the Israel Museum, the Eretz Yisrael Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum and all of the Haifa museums. Again, ask or call at any museum to inquire about their discount policy and present your senior’s card when purchasing the tickets.
Public transportation. Senior citizens are entitled to 50% discount on travel on public buses, trains and the light rail. As a matter of fact, the discount on the light rail is supposed to start at an earlier age (60 for women and 65 for men). You get these discounts via the public transportation card – the Rav Kav רב קו in Hebrew. To get the discounts, go to a Rav Kav office and present your senior citizen card. Afterwards, every time you fill up the card and use it, the discount will be applied.
National Parks and Gardens and government run Archaeological sites. Seniors are entitled to enter all of these cultural sites in the country at a 50% discount by showing them the senior citizenship card.
Finally, let’s look at some of the discounts that senior citizens are entitled to which are generally income based (i.e. if you have a good pension from a Western country you probably will not be entitled to these benefits – or at least not the full benefit – although it is always worthwhile to ask).
Purchase of medicines. Senior citizens who are entitled to a monthly stipend from the National Insurance Institute – in Hebrew betuach leumi ביטוח לאומי , can get a 50% discount off of the price of any medicines (covered in the basket listed by the National Insurance Institute) whether they are purchased at a pharmacy or at the HMO.
Property Taxes. In Hebrew property taxes are called arnona ארנונה, and are payable by anybody who lives in an apartment or house. The discounts that senior citizens are entitled to vary from area to area and town to town, but generally, providing that your pension is less than 150% of the average salary, you are entitled to around 30% off of the property taxes for an apartment up to 100 meters in size. In order to get the discount, you have to go to the collection’s division of your local city council. You may be able to download their forms on their local internet site
Further, even if you don’t make the low-income requirements, a few towns or cities will give you a 25% discount on the property taxes for an apartment of up to 100 meters, just for being a senior citizen. Again, you can find out if this is offered in your city and how to get it by calling your local government office and asking them for the relevant forms. This may not be available in all cases but with our long life expectancy, it’s always worth checking out
Finally, senior citizens who get a disability stipend from the National Insurance Institute can request a discount on property taxes of up to 100%. And if they require assistance (i.e. a foreign worker) for their everyday living, they can get up to a 70% discount in property taxes (again for apartments up to 100 meters). There’s also a special discount for people who are Holocaust Survivors: 66% off on the property tax for an apartment up to 70 meters.