These days, it's not difficult to reach the lowest depths of despair. It's enough to open the paper in the morning. Corruption and decay everywhere. Leaders who've been indicted for serious offenses; failures and ineptitude at the head of the state and the army; arrogance and lack of professionalism. Are we citizens free of guilt? We all carry part of the blame because we've turned "the good life" into the height of our aspirations. We have become a society in which the values of morality have been replaced with the worship of money, power, and publicity. We have turned into a society in which the gaps between the poor and the rich are among the largest in the world, and grow larger every day. And in order not, heaven forbid, to intrude on that "good life," or the chase after our personal happiness, we've closed our eyes. And we've developed a dangerous ugly tendency to blame someone else. For many years, I have been involved in struggles to benefit the disabled, who are the weakest link in the State of Israel. After years of discrimination, oppression and cruelty that puts the State of Israel and all of Judaism to shame, we could sense a change for the better. Even the establishment recognized the rights of the disabled, when the Knesset passed The Law of Equal Rights for People with Disabilities to prevent discrimination. But recently, there has been another change, this time for the worse. The discrimination and oppression have returned. The budget proposals will affect the all of the weaker members of society, and particularly the physically and developmentally disabled. Ordinary people in society are not ashamed to express the revulsion that they feel toward the disabled. In Holon, neighbors opposed a hostel for young people who are developmentally disabled, fearing it would lower their property values. Eventually, someone set the place on fire. And not only in Holon. In Herzliya, in Rishon Lezion, in Bat Yam, in Netanya, in Tel Aviv. There are many people who don't want to see the disabled in their neighborhood, even if they are quiet young people who bear no ill will to anyone. That's the result of the moral bankruptcy of our society. In Jerusalem, our "holy city," the residents of "good neighborhoods" such as Ramot Eshkol, Givat Hamivtar, Ramat Danya, and even Har Adar don't want the disabled anywhere near them. And these are the so-called "enlightened" and educated people - psychologists, physicians, lawyers and other professionals. How can these people, who enjoy a strong economic position and have healthy children, be so evil and cruel? How can they be so mean toward children who have been battered by fate? My level of despair drops lower and lower. And I ask, is there any hope for a state of Sodom such as ours? But the same week that someone burned that hostel, my phone rang and a young girl with a soft voice asked if she could volunteer with disabled children. And the day after that, another girl, and then a young boy, and then a young couple who had just given birth to a healthy baby girl, and then adults and then the elderly, who for many years have been coming to help and support the disabled, offering them love and warmth, willing to give of their hearts and their time. I've read about a social organization of young people who are willing to enlist in the fight against those who would cause damage to the hostels for the disabled. So maybe there is hope. Maybe the young generation will save us. I am reminded that in the Book of Genesis, Abraham argues with God, who had decided to destroy the sinful city of Sodom. Abraham begs to save the city and he asks, if there be 15 righteous people in the city, will God be satisfied? And when he gets to fewer then 10, it becomes clear that there's no hope and God destroys the city. It seems to me that this story carries a moral message and also reveals a wise recognition of reality. Without a certain percentage of honest and righteous people a society cannot survive - in the same way that a building that has rotted away will fall down if it doesn't have other, stronger foundations. I don't know what percentage is needed, and I don't know if what we have is enough. But maybe we can hope that we do have enough people among us, the necessary percentage, who see these disabled people as human beings, enough youths and adults who will volunteer to help the weak. They can give us the hope that we can survive despite everything. The writer is the founder of Yated, a voluntary organization for children with Down syndrome.

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