(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres is disheartened and concerned by what he perceives to be a rise in egoism and a drop in social responsibility, he said while addressing the recipients of the Zusman-Joint Prize for excellence in social services at Beit Hanassi on Wednesday.
Peres said he was very concerned by what was happening in Israeli society, citing as evidence the rise of army dropouts, the low ratio of organ donors and the dwindling numbers of volunteers and contributors to society and the needy.
"A society without philanthropy and volunteerism is in bad shape," he said.
Regarding the three awardees selected for their service to society, Peres said he was proud and encouraged by those who do not shirk the spirit of volunteerism, because what they do is holy work.
The three recipients were Ruthie Zeira, who works with youth at risk; Aviezer Grauer, who tries to improve the quality of life for the disabled; and Guy Finkelstein, who has devoted himself to students with learning difficulties.
Addressing them, Peres said: "You are a ray of light at a time when social gaps are so great. What you do provides a horizon of hope for young people, the disadvantaged and the needy."
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