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Lehigh Valley residents in Israel during missile strikes

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 15 2014 09:03:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2014 10:30:09 AM CDT

Lehigh Valley residents in Israel during missile strikes

Some people from the Lehigh Valley are experiencing the missile strikes into Israel firsthand.

Three representatives of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley are in Israel..

It was supposed to be a quiet visit to the the region of Yoaz in Israel. That hasn't been the case.

"It's actually quiet scary in that I have never had this sort of experience before. Sirens have been ringing, we have been rushing to shelters," said Iris Epstein.

Epstein, Vicki Glaser and Judy Diamondstein are a part of a large contingent of National Jewish Federation leaders visiting partner communities in Israel.

The Lehigh Valley contingent hunkered down through four missile strikes since Saturday, seeking refuge in basement bomb shelters.

A few hours after the national contingent left Tel Aviv, the sound of sirens was heard once again -- a sign the cease fire between Israel and Palestinian militants failed.

" There is a lot of disappointment. No one wants this conflict, nobody wants anyone to be hurt or wounded or God forbid killed and they are all praying for peace and hoping for peace," said Diamondstein.

Federation leaders are now focused on helping Israelis deal with the airstrikes.

"The people here are very strong, they are positive and living in a difficult situation that they have been in before," said Glaser.

The federation said Israel's elderly and disabled citizens are taking the bombings the hardest: many are unable to leave their homes.

Crisis counseling for the community and respite for children are also needed, officials said.

And while Israelis hope for a political resolution to the crisis, the federation and Lehigh Valley synagogues are joining in the Israel Emergency Campaign to pay for those needs.

For more information visit www.Jewishlehighvalley.org.