Israeli Muslim Medic Helps Jewish Corona Patient Light Holiday Candles

By TPS • 16 April 2020
Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah

A 90-year-old Charedi (Ultra-Orthodox) woman from Bnei Brak was diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday, just before the last day of Pesach. She was brought in the afternoon to a hotel in Tel Aviv designated for Coronavirus patients and remained in quarantine there.

Minutes before the holiday began, she realized she did not have any candles to light at the beginning of the holiday and the hotel was out of candles. The woman was brought to tears as she thought that she would not be able to light candles for the first time in more than 70 years.

She called her family to see if there was anything they could do, but they were located in Bnei Brak, a city under lockdown, and no one was allowed to enter the quarantine hotel aside from medical staff.

The family contacted United Hatzalah’s humanitarian dispatch center and asked for help.

Last month, United Hatzalah, an Israeli emergency medicine organization, adapted to the needs and times of the global Coronavirus crisis and has allocated part of its resources usually used for medical emergencies for humanitarian aid in Israel.

The Israel Association of Community Centers and Lev Echad have partnered with United Hatzalah of Israel and launched a new national dispatch center managing volunteers who are providing aid to humanitarian emergencies across the country.

The dispatch center put out the call to all local volunteers. An Israeli Muslim volunteer from Jaffa, Ebrahim Ayuty, received the alert and responded to the call. He hopped on his ambucycle and rushed over to a local store owned by a Muslim friend and purchased some candles. He then raced over to the hotel and brought the candles to the staff who delivered it to the woman. She was able to carry on her unbroken tradition of lighting candles and focus on recovering thanks to the effort of Ebrahim and the humanitarian hotline.

“I am thankful that I was able to help,” Ebrahim said. “I volunteer with United Hatzalah so that I can help people, no matter who they are or what they need.”

He noted that “normally, I respond to medical emergencies, but since the onset of the Coronavirus in Israel, the lives of so many people have been turned upside down. It is a gift to be able to help people bring back a little bit of normalcy during this epidemic. Helping someone keep an age-old tradition alive is incredibly important to that person and therefore it is important to me as well.”