Muslim and Jewish paramedics pray together in Israel in rare moment of rest as they deal with coronavirus patients

  • Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama paused to pray in Israeli city of Be’er Sheva
  • Mintz, a Jew, stood facing Jerusalem and Abu Jama, a Muslim knelt facing Mecca
  • A picture of the two men taken by a co-worker quickly went viral on social media
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Muslim and Jewish paramedics in Israel prayed together in a rare moment of rest from dealing with coronavirus patients. 

Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama had just responded to a call from a 41-year-old woman who was having respiratory problems in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva.

When it got to 6pm, the two members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response service, realised it may be their only break of the shift and so paused to pray.  

Mintz, 42, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem and Abu Jama, 39, a Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, with his prayer rug underneath him. 

Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama paused to pray in Israeli city of Be'er Sheva. Mintz, 42, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem and Abu Jama, 39, a Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, with his prayer rug underneath him

Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama paused to pray in Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. Mintz, 42, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem and Abu Jama, 39, a Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, with his prayer rug underneath him

A picture of the two men taken by a co-worker quickly went viral and now has thousands of likes on social media. 

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 worker who trains volunteers. 

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.’

The two men (pictured) are members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's emergency response service

The two men (pictured) are members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response service

Abu Jama, a father of seven from the nearby Bedouin city of Rahat, was one of those volunteers trained by Mintz. 

He left his job as a driving instructor to help out as much as he could during the epidemic. 

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.’  

During the pandemic in Israel, the MDA have responded to 100,000 calls on the worst days which is more than 10 times their normal amount, according to Zaki Heller, a MDA spokesman.

A member of medical staff holds a sample collected from a Palestinian worker returning from Israel, at a coronavirus disease testing site, outside the Israeli-controlled Tarqumiya checkpoint near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

A member of medical staff holds a sample collected from a Palestinian worker returning from Israel, at a coronavirus disease testing site, outside the Israeli-controlled Tarqumiya checkpoint near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

As well as their normal paramedic work, the MDA – which is comprised of 2,500 full-time employees and 25,000 volunteers – are responsible for taking coronavirus patients to hospital and carrying out tests for the disease.  

The two paramedics prayed for about 15 minutes before getting back in their ambulance and going back to work.  

So far 3,035 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild. Ten patients have died and 49 are in a serious condition. 

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