Oklahomans with Israeli connections are concerned about conflict
A group of exchange students returned from Israel two days early and a mother frets daily over her son's security in Israel, but those who have been there said recent conflict at the Israel-Gaza border has not impacted life in the cities to the north.
“The violence, neither of us saw that coming,” he said. “We've been more thinking about what's going to happen with Iran. This really came as a huge surprise last week.”
Five times he has had to bunker down in a shelter after the missile alerts sounded, but the occurrences are short and became nonevents after the first several.
But don't try making light of it to his mother.
Lory Randolph said she initially demanded Jack return home, but now keeps her nose to the news and the State Department website.
“You have 90 to 120 seconds to get to a shelter once the alarm goes off,” she said. “My son has promised me that he will heed every one of those warnings; he's promised me that he will never be further than 90 to 120 seconds from one.”
A planned trip by her younger son, Ryan, to see his big brother in December is on hold for now, she said.
Family in Israel
Rabbi Vered Harris at the Temple B'nai Israel in Oklahoma City said the short-term crisis is not nearly as concerning as the long-term implications of instability again in Israel.
Harris claims a sister, grandmother, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Israel. Two of her cousins serve in the military, one as a reserve. Her father is Israeli and fought in wars there in 1967 and 1973.
“I'm pretty much sick to my stomach every day, what I'm going through as an Oklahoman with connections up there,” she said. “The issue is not just the short-term safety of the people who live in threat of the people who live in the Gaza border; the issue is the long-term stability of Israel as the only democracy in that part of the Middle East.”
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