Arab nurse who read ‘Shema’ with dying patient to light Independence Day torch

Channel 12 news speaks to Maher Ibrahim, a nurse at Afula’s HaEmek Medical Center, who has been chosen to light a torch during the official ceremony for Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, to be held next week.

Ibrahim, a Muslim, gained national attention in February when, treating a dying elderly coronavirus patient who could not be with his family, he read the Jewish “Shema Yisrael” prayer with him during his final moments.

Maher will light a torch on behalf of medical staff and was told he and his team “express Israeli solidarity, whether Jewish, Arab, religious, secular, all [working] together to save lives.”

Nurse Maher Ibrahim at HaEmek Medical Center in Afula speaks to Channel 12, April 7, 2021 (screenshot)

Ibrahim says there is “great happiness at HaEmeK Hospital, great happiness in the family” over the decision. He feels “honored and proud” for himself and “for everyone who has been with us throughout the past year” fighting the pandemic.