An Israeli doctor from the Arab community has been leading the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus which has caused major health crisis around the world. Khitam Hussein, the head of the COVID-19 response team at the Rambam Hospital, has been reportedly working 12 strenuous hours every day.
Being from an often marginalised community in Israel, Hussein’s selfless contribution has emerged as a leading example of solidarity in such difficult times. In 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to declare Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people when the country has around 20 per cent of the Israeli Arab population.
The ongoing health crisis has again sparked the debate around the controversial law and Yair Lapid, leader of the largest opposition party in the parliament, accused Netanyahu of ignoring the contribution of Arab medics. “If... you're an Arab doctor or nurse in a hospital who hasn't shut an eye in weeks, you should know that they won't amend the nation-state law," Yair Lapid recently tweeted.
Arabs citizens of Israel are largely composed of the Palestinian descendants who remained in the country in the aftermath of the declaration of independence. Israel has reported 15,589 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far with 208 deaths as the medics across communities struggle to contain the virus spread.
Last week, a UN official told the Security Council that the past month witnessed some inspiring examples of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians against the common enemy COVID-19. In the security council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, Special Coordinator Nickolay Mlandenov said that the cooperation across the conflict lines opened fresh prospects for progress in the quest for peace.
However, the UN envoy admitted that the past month has also seen continued confrontation and fighting in the West Bank and Gaza, with ever-rising casualties. It was the first briefing by the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a coalition government.
(Representational Image: AP)