Welfare Minister presents awards for exceptional volunteerism .
(photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen presented an award on Thursday to 12 volunteers and two organizations for their exemplary volunteer services to Israeli society. This year, the ceremony also commemorated volunteers in Operation Protective Edge who sacrificed their lives helping soldiers and residents in the South.
“I met with hundreds of volunteers who gathered under the spirit of giving and soulful work for the citizens of the South. The giving spirit and the unity to which we were exposed during Operation Protective Edge was evident everywhere,” Cohen said ahead of the ceremony at Beit Hahayal in Tel Aviv.
The welfare minister paid special tribute to Dror Henin, the first civilian killed in Operation Protective Edge, while he was delivering food packages to IDF soldiers. The second tribute was made to Zevik Etzion, who served as the IDF security coordinator for the Eshkol Regional Council and devoted his life to volunteering for numerous causes.
Cohen also awarded a lifetime achievement award to 74-yearold Muhammad Hassan, from Tamra, an Arab city in the Lower Galilee. Hassan serves as the CEO and founder of Al-Haj Abu Ahmad Samur charity, established in 1989 with the purpose of developing projects to assist the citizens of Tamra.
The welfare minister awarded a special prize to Miriam Davidson, a 75-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hadera for her work in volunteering with other survivors. As part of her work, Davidson visited individuals in their homes, organized projects and meetings between students and survivors, and assisted in preparing care packages and distributing vouchers for the poorest of them.
In addition, Cohen presented awards to ten other volunteers and two charities: Nizanei Rishon, a nonprofit organization established by parents for children with special needs in an attempt to support those children and ensure their legal rights; and Simha Layeled, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting children with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
Among the volunteers who received awards, Avraham Roizman, was recognized for his work over the past 15 years as a volunteer with the elderly in the Lakhish Regional Council.
Benny Farjun, for his 30 years of volunteer service including promoting and assisting the special needs population in Arab and Jewish sectors alike. Rabbi Nahman Ehrenreich, for his volunteer work with ultra-Orthodox disadvantaged youth.
Israel and Ziva Ben-Arzi, Ariel Ben-Tovim , Lee Louis, Peter Shani, Yehudit Ben-Ari and Jacqueline Rachmani were also presented awards for their exceptional volunteer work.