Coronavirus is bringing Israeli Jews and Arabs closer together

However, relations between the ultra-Orthodox (haredim) and non-haredim have deteriorated.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

The coronavirus pandemic has done something that almost every political initiative has failed to do – bring Arabs and Israelis closer together.

A majority of Israel’s public says the coronavirus crisis has positively affected relations between Jews and Arabs, an April survey by The Israel Democracy Institute shows.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent of Jewish-Israelis and 64 percent of Arab-Israelis believe that relations have improved between Jews and Arabs in Israel during the coronavirus outbreak.

However, when it comes to relations between the ultra-Orthodox (haredim) and non-haredim, the majority of those surveyed say the crisis has negatively affected it.

Sixty-two percent of the public says that relations between the haredi community and the rest of Israelis were damaged during the pandemic, while only 17 percent of haredim and 28 percent of the remaining Jewish Israelis say that relations have improved during this period, the survey says.

Arab-Israeli doctors and nurses were honored in a recent video, viewed over 2 million times, titled “Partners in Fate, Partners in the Government.”

“Now they are all called heroes,” the video promoting co-existence begins, showing masked doctors and nurses who are working “double-shifts and risking their lives.”

When the masks are taken off it’s revealed that they are Arab-Israelis. The video ends by saying, “Tens of thousands of Arab-Israelis are partners in fighting the war against corona, and they are an inseparable part of Israel.”

Recently, Yediot Aharonot published a four-page photo essay of Arab and Jewish medical personnel working together to fight the pandemic. One photograph shows an Arab doctor bringing a Torah scroll into a coronavirus isolation ward, while another shows a Jewish medic wrapped in his prayer shawl standing next to another Arab medic kneeling on a prayer rug.