Muslim And Jewish Paramedics Pause To Pray Together In Powerful Photo
A photo of Muslim and Jewish paramedics praying together, taken earlier this year, has been seen as a perfect display of unity during tough times.
Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama have worked as first responders in Israel throughout the pandemic as members of Magen David Adom (MDA), the country’s emergency service.
In March this year, the pair checked on a 77-year-old man before responding to a call regarding a 41-year-old woman having respiratory problems in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, before the image was captured by one of their colleagues.
It was approaching 6.00pm and the paramedics were under no illusion that the rest of their shift was going to be quiet, so they knew the small break they had time for might be the only one.
The two men took the opportunity to pray, so Mintz, who is Jewish, put his black and white prayer shawl around his shoulders and stood facing Jerusalem. Abu Jama, an observant Muslim, knelt on his maroon and white prayer rug facing Mecca.
Mintz and Abu Jama routinely work together two or three times a week, so the joint prayer was not a new experience to them, and after 15 minutes they got back into the ambulance and back to work. However, a co-worker snapped a picture of them praying and shared it online, where it has since become a source of inspiration for others.
The photo has been re-posted thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram, with social media users praising the ‘touching’ and ‘wonderful’ scene.
Mintz, a full-time MDA worker who trains volunteers, spoke to CNN about the incredible response, saying:
The fact that it is so simple makes it so powerful. I believe that Zoher and I and most of the world understand that we have to raise our heads and pray. That’s all that’s left.
Everyone is afraid of the virus. So are we, but we have the belief that everything is under the control of God, blessed be He. We both believe this.
Abu Jama, a volunteer who left his job as a driving instructor to help the service as much as possible, spoke about his relationship with Mintz and his own beliefs, saying:
In terms of belief and personality we believe in the same things and we have something in common. I believe he is a person that gives and takes the feeling of honor and that is important.
I believe that God will help us and we will get through this. We should all pray to God to get us through this, and we will get through this world crisis.
MDA spokesperson Zaki Heller said MDA teams have fielded 100,000 calls across Israel on peak days, more than 10 times their normal volume.
MDA teams are responsible for taking coronavirus patients to hospital or designated quarantine hotels, carrying out coronavirus tests and collecting blood donations, as well as carrying out the normal work of paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
MDA Director General Eli Bin spoke with pride about his team, which is made up of 2,500 full-time employees and 25,000 volunteers.
The people of MDA are facing the virus, looking it in the eye. The workers of MDA are working with their hands and their gloves and their masks. We are the heroes of Israel.
The image of Mintz and Abu Jama encapsulates community and togetherness, reminding people that we are all undergoing this experience together.
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