New Jersey woman returns to US after being in Israel when war with Hamas began

Lauri Bader says she was awakened by the sounds of sirens at her hotel.

Naomi Yané

Oct 9, 2023, 9:20 PM

Updated 246 days ago

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Lauri Bader was scheduled to be in Tel Aviv for five days for a wedding but after war broke out on the Gaza Strip this weekend, that trip quickly turned into trying to find a way out.
"It was pitch black. It was really scary, the streets were deserted. We knew that there were terrorists that were still inside of Israel. We didn't know where they were,” says Bader
Bader describes the ride from her hotel to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel early Sunday morning as the conflict in Gaza continued.
"We were going to the airport, and we didn't even know if we were going to have a flight,” she says.
Bader is now back on U.S. soil. She landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday afternoon. The Englewood woman recounts what it was like trying to get a flight home while the Israel-Hamas War was escalating.
"We had experienced a whole day of sirens and going to the safe room and there were two in the morning and there were three more at night,” she says.
Just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday she was awoken by the sounds of sirens and an announcement on the loudspeaker in her hotel for all the guests to proceed to safe rooms or bomb shelters. Throughout  Saturday, Bader, her daughter and other guests at the Sheraton in Tel Aviv would be asked to move to safe rooms a total of five times and it was at that point that Bader decided to try to find a way home.
However, what she saw on the flight board at the hotel wasn't promising.
"It was just showing just canceled, canceled, canceled and we didn't know what to do so we found two seats on British Airways to London, and we said, we'll just get to London, and we know we'll get home somehow,” Bader says.
As stressful as it was for her, it was just as stressful for her husband waiting for her in New Jersey.
"I thought it was more a question of them being nervous about being stuck there and how long they might be there for and if things really started to go downhill, what might possibly happen then,” says Jeffery Bader.
Lauri Bader says she felt a sense of solace once they made it to the airport.
"We see this plane at our gate, and we were so relieved and then a crew showed up and by some miracle, the plane left. So we got out of Israel Sunday very early Sunday morning and then we caught a connection on United to get home to Newark,” she says.
According to the United States Embassy in Israel, Ben Gurion Airport remains open, however some flights are reduced or suspended. U.S. carriers have temporarily suspended flights to Israel. Bader was in Tel Aviv for all of 36 hours and while she was there, she said there was no sign of what was to come. She says she is glad to be home.


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