An Israeli firefighter in action. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Israeli firefighter

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Only in Israel! A Druze firefighter put himself in harm’s way to rescue Torah scrolls from a burning synagogue. 

By: United with Israel Staff

Druze firefighter Wiam Nevuani arrived at a fire in a synagogue at the northern city of Nahariah on Monday and did not hesitate when he burst into the burning building to save the Torah scrolls.

He told Israel’s Channel 20 that he felt he was saving a soul, even though he knew that no one was trapped in the burning building.

“We were four teams of firefighters, and as we drove I realized the importance of the site of the fire. I thought about the site’s importance and high level of sanctity. Based on the report that we’d received, that no one was trapped, I started thinking about how to save the contents of the building – the Torah scrolls, all the prayer books,” he recounted.

“When we arrived at the site, the flames were immense; there was a rain of fire. The temperature reading was very high, and the building was surrounded by smoke. We started working to put out the fire and very quickly got it under control. As we were working, I identified a Torah scroll, and immediately jumped, grabbed it, and brought it outside,” he recalled.

“As I brought it outside, I felt like I was holding a soul, like I was saving a person, saving a baby,” he said.

When asked about risking his life to save the Torah, Nevuani said that “the warmth radiating from the Torah scroll touched my heart, and for a few seconds I wondered and thought to myself about what is written in the scroll.”

Nevuani did not view his actions as outstanding in any way.

“At the end of the day, I just did my job. Everyone who becomes a firefighter knows and understands what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.”

The Druze are a monotheistic religious and social community found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. Their religion is rooted primarily in Ismailism, a branch of Shia Islam.

The Druze, a religious minority in Israel, are known for their military courage and dedication to the State of Israel. Today, 85 percent of Israel’s male Druze population choose to join the Israeli military, and many continue their service far beyond their scheduled release dates.

Israeli Druze have attained top positions in politics and public service. The number of Druze Knesset members, representing diverse political parties, exceeds their proportion among the Israeli population.

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