In a nationally televised Israeli Independence Day commemoration that was seemingly less celebratory amid the country’s coronavirus lockdown, a Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic was chosen to light one of the event’s candles.
"Yasmeen Mazzawi, a 21-year-old from Nazareth, has become a point of pride for Israel’s Arab community and, to her own surprise, a role model for young girls across the country," MDA said in a statement
"The mother of a baby who I intubated and had to ventilate on the way to the hospital months ago [and who’s since recovered] called me several days ago to tell me how proud she was of me to be lighting the candle,” she said. “The reaction brought tears to my eyes.”
For her colleagues at MDA, she also serves as validation for the organization, which has been at the front lines in the country’s efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic, MDA stated.
For Yasmeen, the ceremony provided a respite from grueling 12-hour shifts aboard a Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance treating coronavirus patients. Yasmeen and her colleagues appear to be succeeding, as Israel last week reported for the first time that the country’s new Covid cases were surpassed by the number of patients newly declared as recovered.
“It was such an honor to light the candle,” she says, a distinction she first learned about two weeks ago during an emotional video conference with Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev.