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Jewish And Muslim Paramedics Stop To Pray Together: "We Will Get Through This"

Caitlyn Clancey 28 Mar 2020

A Jewish paramedic and a Muslim paramedic from Israel recently seized a rare and brief moment of calm during their day to stop and pray together.

Although it only lasted 15 minutes before they had to return to their hectic shifts, a picture taken of the pair has emerged as an inspiring image of solidarity in the midst of one of the most difficult health crises the modern world has ever known.

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Ever since the outbreak began, Israel's ambulance system has been fielding around 100,000 calls a day.

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With constant calls coming in and the demand for immediate, emergency medical attention growing, it's a wonder how Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama, two paramedics from the southern town of Beersheba, ever found themselves with even just 15 minutes to catch their breath.

But, as CNN reported, that's just what happened on March 24. And they knew exactly how they wanted to spend those incredibly rare 15 minutes.

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The two members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's emergency response service, stopped everything they were doing and prayed together.

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42-year-old Mintz, a father of nine and a religious Jewish man, stood next to the ambulance wearing a black and white prayer shawl and faced north towards Jerusalem.

Meanwhile his partner, 39-year-old observant Muslim Abu Jama, knelt on a prayer rug next to him and faced south towards Mecca.

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For this pair, who work together two or three times a week, praying together isn't anything new.

Magen David Adom via CNN

“We try to pray together, instead of each one of us taking the time for himself, because we have a lot of situations we’re dealing with right now,” Mintz told the Independent.

“The whole world is battling this,” Abu Jama added. “This is a disease that doesn’t tell the difference between anybody, any religion, any gender. But you put that aside. We work together; we live together. This is our life.”

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A colleague snapped a photo of Mintz and Abu Jama during their moment of prayer, and it has since been shared online.

The official Twitter account for Magen David Adom was the first to post the photo, which they captioned, "MDA's staff and volunteers may come from different religions and backgrounds, but all of them are integral and committed to helping Israelis fight #coronavirus."

It has since been shared elsewhere, including on Instagram, where it's managed to reach hundreds of thousands of people.

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Judging from the comments, the photo has certainly struck a powerful and emotional chord with people.

"Finally we are beginning to see the power in unity," one user commented on Instagram, while another added, "I'm proud of all of the rescue services, it doesn't matter from what community or religion."

"Love this," one person wrote. "We are all brothers and sisters. Now is the time for even more unity and union between people of all faiths and backgrounds."

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Mintz said he believes the reason the image has touched so many people is because of how simple it truly is.

"The fact that it is so simple makes it so powerful," he told CNN. "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."

"In terms of belief and personality we believe in the same things and we have something in common," Abu Jama explained. "I believe he is a person that gives and takes the feeling of honor and that is important."

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Mintz also admitted that neither he nor his coworker see themselves as heroes by any means.

"Everyone is afraid of the virus," he said, "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 added, "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."

h/t: CNN, Independent

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