New Jersey residents with loved ones in Israel fear for their safety
Many in New Jersey are worrying about loved ones who are in Israel during the war with Hamas.
Cantor Nancy Dubin, from Temple Beth RIshon in Wyckoff, hasn't heard from her 20-year-old son Ari since Saturday afternoon.
“It's been tense. He called me and said, ‘I’m not going to have my phone for 36 hours,’” Dubin said, holding back tears. “’I'm going to be in an undisclosed place, and I'll call you when I get out.’”
Ari joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) back in December— wanting to become an Israeli citizen and eventually study biotechnology there.
“He wanted to have the experience the Israelis are having,” says Dubin.
By law, most Israeli citizens are conscripted into the military after graduating high school.
But the cantor says Ari is not the type of kid who would want to fight.
"If you met him, he's this gentle guy. He likes jazz,” Dubin says.
Meanwhile, the 36 hours have passed as she stays glued to her phone, hoping it will ring.
And it is no different for many inside Israel. Dr. Doron Zahger was visiting New Jersey when the violence erupted mere miles from Soroka Medical Center where he works.
"There is still a substantial number of people unaccounted for and families don't know whether they're killed and not wounded, because you can track people in hospitals,” says Zahger. “But people who are unaccounted for are just dead or kidnapped or both."
The hospital he says saw an unprecedented 800 patients in just 24 hours. While his own family is OK, not so for neighbors and colleagues.
"I’ve seen an obituary this morning for a female worker at the university, and it goes her, her husband, her father and her two daughters,” Zahger says.
Zahger says he plans to return to Israel in the upcoming days. He says he fears the war won’t end any time soon.