October 23, 2018

No Country for Old Men in the Golan Heights

“It has been more than 51 years since Israel conquered the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War and Jews since began resettling in the region. But today it seems that the generation that populated the area and helped develop it forgot that, one day, they too would get old and might need different living conditions.

Asked whether he fears the future, Charley Levy, one aging resident of the Golan, replied, “A farmer works on a tractor. He drives himself to the cemetery alone. He knows: ‘If I am not for me, who will be for me?’” Levy, who lives on Moshav Kidmat Tzvi, is only 62, but his sentiments echo those of many older Golan residents.

Maybe it is their pioneering spirit, or pride or a reluctance to complain or come off as self-pitying, but the Golan’s residents are growing older in a place where aging is not easy, even if they don’t all admit it. The region has no old-age homes or assisted-living centers, caregivers are not flocking to the area and it is easier to become isolated in its small, remote communities. On top of that, the quality of the health services in the Golan – and northern Israel, in general – is lacking, which further complicates the aging process.”

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