Israeli-American woman recounts bombs going off in Tel Aviv area

She captured video of sirens going off before missiles struck her area

A woman who did not want to be identified for safety reasons told KSAT reporter Courtney Friedman her story as a means of transparency to people watching the Israel-Hamas war from their phones and televisions.

“Saturday, 6:30 in the morning, all of a sudden, an alarm — everybody is running. The panic is there, but it’s very organized,” the woman said.

Though she now lives in America, she was visiting family and friends near Tel Aviv for the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

“I actually extended my trip an extra week, and then this happened Saturday,” she said.

That morning, she pointed her phone at the beautiful Tel Aviv sunrise while the sounds of sirens erupted through the air.

Then, she ushered elderly neighbors to the building’s bomb shelter.

“It’s tough with elders or children, but you have to move. You don’t have time. You have less than 30 seconds. You’re already hearing the noise, the bombs above you,” the woman said.

She was in and out of the bunker for five hours as thousands of rockets pounded Israel. Hamas terrorists invaded, taking lives and hostages.

“The horror. The horror. I have nephews there right now. I have a lot of friends. It’s a tough situation. You don’t know what’s going on. There’s a lot of dead coming up every day,” she said.

The woman was able to jump on a plane back to the United States, where her three kids are, but she left reluctantly.

“Nobody wanted to leave. I didn’t want to leave. When I was at the airport on a flight, you hardly saw any Israelis. It was mostly Americans. Israel gets very, very close together. Everybody gets united. Everybody is helping. If it’s food, if it’s clothes, if it’s therapy — everybody, it’s just amazing,” she said.

However, she feels the love here in America, too.

“All the donations and the money that’s going just to help — it makes me feel good,” she said.

The woman said it makes her people feel acknowledged in the face of so much hate.

“It makes me feel like people see what’s going on. One hundred thirty people are kidnapped. There’s children, there’s older people, there’s mothers. There’s even Americans. Why does an innocent 6-month-old baby deserve to be taken from its mother? Why?” she said.

She said this terror attack is causing suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians.

“We don’t want any innocent to die. Let’s be honest from both sides,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Her two nephews, ages 22 and 28, have been called to fight with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), along with all their friends.

The woman’s close friends and family who are older are volunteering in whatever way they can.

Every moment, she waits for word from her family, praying peace comes soon.

“Too many people lost life, and the sooner it ends, the better. We have young kids down there. I want to see these 130 people coming back home safe and alive. That’s what I want — everybody to be safe at home,” she said.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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