Israeli President Reuven Rivlin presented the 47th Presidential Awards for Volunteerism this week at his official residence in Jerusalem.

During the ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, a special award was given to volunteers involved in helping those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is at times like these, when so many people’s health, livelihood and mental health have been harmed, that social gaps have widened and many disadvantaged populations have become even weaker,” said Rivlin. “It is precisely at times like this that Israeli society has proven that it has different capabilities, particularly the capacity to offer a helping hand, turning every difficulty into an opportunity to give and bring people together.”

According to the Government Press Office, this year’s awards were presented to 12 individuals and organizations, four of whom for their COVID-19-related work.

The other eight awards were presented to volunteers dealing with the rehabilitation, treatment and education of Israelis who have been caught up in crime.

“The tradition of volunteerism is an integral part of Jewish culture, and it is an integral part of the culture of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” said Rivlin. “Volunteerism is part of Israel’s DNA—a bit of chutzpah, a bit of warmth and always, always happy to help. … We don’t all share the same worldview and each of us brings what he has to contribute to paving our shared path. But we undoubtedly share the same love of humanity, compassion and sensitivity.”

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