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An Arab contractor, who paved an open space that will serve Jewish worshippers at an Israeli settlement in Samaria (Shomron), decided to donate it free of charge.

The contractor, Rami Yihya from Taibeh, was hired by members of the Yemenite synagogue in the community of Einav to prepare an outdoor space where the congregation could pray during the Corona crisis while synagogues are shuttered.

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Upon learning that the construction was meant for prayers, Yihya donated all the materials and work time.

“This is a holy place,” he explained, speaking at a ceremony held this week after the conclusion of the construction, at which he was the guest of honor, “God will pay me”, he added.

He further shared the story that after the murder of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger in a terrorist attack in March 2019, he came to pay his respects to the family and saw that the family’s 12 children were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. He built beds for them and repainted the house.

He visits the family on a weekly basis.

“We are all human beings,” he stressed.

His gesture was warmly welcomed by Israelis on social media.

“I shed a tear. May there be more people like him,” one Israeli tweeted.

“Tears. I have heard moving stories in my life, but I have never experienced such a story about a (seemingly) simple person with a sensitive mind and a well-developed sense of grace,” wrote another.

“People like Rami are the real hope for a better world. If there is a narrow crack through which coexistence can pass, it is thanks to Rami the contractor,” he added.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.