Exciting ceremony at the President’s House: “The President’s Recognition for Volunteering” for the year 2018

Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom
The President of the State awarded the "President's Award for Volunteering" for the year of the 2018-1998 year to 20 individuals, associations, businesses and groups that worked to strengthen the resilience of the Israeli home front in routine and emergency situations during the war.

The President’s Medal for Volunteering is an initiative founded during the time of the fourth president of the State of Israel, the late Professor Ephraim Katzir, and its activity began as early as 1974. The initiative is held in cooperation with the President’s House and the Israel Council for Volunteering.

Last evening (Wednesday), President Yitzhak Herzog awarded the ‘President’s Medal for Volunteering’ for the year 2018. Following the events of the October 7th massacre and the ongoing war, the medal was awarded to 20 individuals, associations, businesses or groups who showed an impressive spirit of volunteerism and worked to strengthen the Israeli home front in routine and emergency situations. Also, due to the civil commitment that moved us all in the first weeks of the war in which right and leftists, religious and secular united in extensive activity day and night for the benefit of the fighters and the citizens of the State of Israel, a new category was added and a unique badge was awarded to the civilian soldiers who helped with their contribution.

The president of the country opened his words at the ceremony: “In these difficult days, of new bad news in the mornings, this is a huge privilege – really huge! To host you here, at the Israeli People’s House, at an event that miraculously raises the hidden light of Israeli society – the light of initiative, giving, and mutual guarantee. This light, as the well-known saying – has the power to push away much of this darkness that surrounds us – and how much we need your light at this time.”

He also added and referred to the division prevailing among some of the people and said that precisely in a situation where the hand is light on the keyboard especially on social networks and that defamations have become a matter of routine, “We give an answer to that. Here and now! You all come from different places, you all live in different places – before the war, and even now, all of you with different views and beliefs, but you all volunteered! You came and gave of yourselves for the sake of others in this difficult, even terrible, time that befell us…You are the beautiful faces of Israel, from you comes the light! Therefore – I am not ready to get into unnecessary arguments – because only with the love of Israel will we overcome!”

And ended his words with appreciation: “Thank you – the winners and the winners – for the strength and inspiration you gave to an entire country in its most difficult hour, which is also its greatest hour. Let’s all wish for better days, days of good news, keep doing good!”

The Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the President of the State, Ayelet Nahmias Varbin: “The 50th year of the President’s letter to the volunteer, with unparalleled symbolism, has become an extremely challenging year in the selection of individuals, organizations – and in a special way for the Year of Iron Swords, also the commanders who were in the maneuvering and all-capable divisions of the home front facing difficult and complex tasks. I was privileged to be brought to the table with top quality people, from the leaders of civil society in Israel. Each and every one of us had people we fell in love with, organizations that captured our hearts and some of them were established in the very first hours and others throughout the first months of the war. The dear receivers of the signal, the initiators of the chamals, the exemplary people of this country – congratulations from the bottom of my heart at this exciting moment.”

The representative of the winners, Yaholoma Zetot said: “During the difficult days of the Iron Swords War, when my home town, Ofakim, suffered a brutal massacre and heavy losses, many citizens fought fiercely to protect their lives and the lives of the residents of the neighborhood. Precisely in those gloomy moments, the Israeli Shekinah was revealed. In the “Embracing the Horizons” project, a variety of people from the city and the country went out to the residents – we arrived, listened to their stories and mapped out urgent needs. I found many brave residents in a city of heroes who are proud and loyal to the State of Israel.’

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