COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Life in Israel has changed over the last few days as the war against Hamas continues. Many Americans are living and working in Israel right now, including an Ohio University graduate who is teaching English to Israeli children.
OU alum Shaye Manton moved to Tel Aviv in August, along with her American roommate Michaela Mizrahi.
The two said they felt very safe in Israel, but that changed just days ago.
“On Saturday morning, we woke up to sirens and phone calls and banging on the doors and chaos,” Manton said. “We had no idea what was happening and we were all very confused.”
They spent Saturday in a bomb shelter as a missile hit just streets away from their apartment.
On Tuesday, sirens went off again in the middle of the afternoon, and they had to run across the street to the nearest bomb shelter.
“You also don’t know what’s going on in the outside world,” Mizrahi said. “It’s just what you can hear and you can hear a lot. So, it’s just sitting underground kind of crouched together, holding on to each other usually and hearing explosions in the distance.”
Officials are telling them to stock up on at least three days’ worth of supplies.
“You don’t know what’s to come next, so our days are very minute-by-minute,” Mizrahi said. “You can’t really plan anything. We have a go bag ready at all times including right now sitting next to both of us with our shoes on during this interview.”
Manton and Mizrahi said their friends and family are begging them to come back to the U.S., but they want to stay in Israel.
“I don’t want to go home,” Manton said. “I feel like if I went home, I would be doing exactly what I’m doing here but feeling like my heart was somewhere else. I feel like my heart is here and I feel like I can do more here. We’re able to volunteer and cook for soldiers and be here in so many more ways and I feel like me leaving is leaving my heart here.”
“And I feel exactly the same way,” Mizrahi added.
Both women want people in America to understand that this is real, and that people’s lives are being destroyed by these attacks.
“I’m scared for ourselves, I’m scared for our loved ones, I’m scared for the Jewish people as a whole, the soldiers fighting, I’m scared for what this means for the rest of the world,” Mizrahi said.
The two said the Israel-Hamas war has made them realize that life can change in an instant.