In a rare moment of resting, Muslim and Jewish paramedics in Israel prayed together from coping with patients with coronavirus.
Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama had just responded to a call from a 41-year-old woman in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva who was suffering from respiratory problems.
As it hit 6 pm, the two leaders of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response service, upon realising it could be their only break during the shift, stopped to pray.
Mintz, 42, a devout Jew, stood facing Jerusalem and Abu Jama, 39, a Muslim, knelt in the direction of Mecca, with his prayer rug underneath him.
A photo of the two mena co-worker took quickly went viral and now has thousands of social media views.
One user responded on Instagram: ‘I’m proud of all of the rescue services, it doesn’t matter from what community or religion.’
On Twitter, another user said: ‘One fight! One victory! Let’s unite.’
Mintz is a father of nine who lives in Be’er Sheva and is a full-time MDA volunteer trainer.
He told CNN: ‘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.’
One of those volunteers trained by Mintz was Abu Jama, a father of seven from the nearby Bedouin town of Rahat. He left his job as a driving instructor to help out in the pandemic.
He said: ‘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.’
According to Zaki Heller, a spokesman for MDA, the MDA responded to 100,000 calls during the pandemic in Israel on the worst days which is more than 10 times their average number.
In addition to their daily paramedic duties, the MDA, consisting of 2,500 full-time staff and 25,000 volunteers, is responsible for transporting coronavirus patients to hospital and performing disease checks.
The two paramedics prayed for about 15 minutes before returning to their ambulance and returning to work.
So far 3,035 Israelis, with the vast majority of cases mild, have tested positive for coronavirus. Ten patients died and 49 patients remain in critical condition.