Voluntary Sector Review
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Muslim volunteers as social services providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel

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  • 1 Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, , Baqa al-Gharbiyye, , Israel
  • | 2 School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, , Philadelphia, United States
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In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli government paid little attention to its impact on the Palestinian population. Allocations of state aid under-funded Palestinian communities, and all state communications and public announcements were delivered in Hebrew, effectively excluding native Arabic speakers from vital safety information. In response, Muslim volunteers and organisations filled the service and information gaps created by government neglect. In this article, we describe how Muslim volunteers organised and responded in order to support the Muslim community in Israel. Based on in-depth interviews with 19 volunteers in the early days of the pandemic, we show that their motivation was both religious and political, and firmly grounded in Muslim theology. We describe new services provided by volunteers and show that they were uniquely suited to meet Muslim community needs in the moment.

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  • 1 Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, , Baqa al-Gharbiyye, , Israel
  • | 2 School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, , Philadelphia, United States

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