Our Experience and Exit from Israel during the war.
We witnessed firsthand the sadness, fear and faith of the people of Israel.
It was Saturday 7 October,
Our daughter and son-in-law, Adam and Carrie Friedrich had left early in the morning to visit Masada which is about an hour from Jerusalem. While they were there, Israel was attacked. I called and told them, so they immediately returned to Jerusalem.
The nation was in shock as the news began to show the extent of this horrible terrorist attack. Then the nation went into emergency-mode. Stores, shops, schools and most business closed. The streets of Jerusalem were empty as the nation mourned, took shelter and prepared for war.
The news of the extent of the attack was getting more gruesome by the hours. Terrorist had taken some Israeli villages and were torturing, raping, and killing the civilians. Holding hostages and taking many to GAZA. Men, women, and even children were brutalized by Hamas.The Israeli soldiers were fighting door to door in their own villages to rescue these people. Booby traps had been left behind by Hamas.
Thousands of people from all over the world were, and are still, trying to leave Israel.
We felt safe in Jerusalem as long as we took precautions but, we knew that it was critical to leave. Yet, in a way it was impossible. Over the week we purchased four tickets on different airlines, to various countries, they all canceled at the last minute. We anticipated that it would be a while before we would be able to leave.
Thursday, six days into the war, we decided to transfer to Tel Aviv to stay in a hotel near the Airport. Then we could go to the airport and see what we could do. We knew that we would be a few among thousands there doing the same thing.
Then, Thursday afternoon, Tim Kennedy with, “Save our Allies” posted that they were going to get American’s out. Adam had read Tim’s book, “Scars and Stripes” and was familiar with his work, “Save our Allies.” So, Adam went on their website and gave them our information. Within hours they called Adam.
They said, “We are working to get you and your family out tomorrow.”
That seemed impossible to us. But as the day went on they stayed in contact with Adam about the progress. Then they told us “it’s all arranged.” They gave us instructions to drive to Haifa, about a hour and half from Jerusalem, to a small airport mostly for local and private flights. They said to be there at 11:30 am. They said, “We will stay in touch until you are out of the country.”
We walked into the airport, only a few people were there. The military looked at our passports, and they did not check anything in our luggage. In a short time a six passenger cessna twin engine propeller plane landed, picked us up and flew us the 45 minutes to Cyprus. When we arrived in Cyprus, we were met by a woman who took us right through customs past hundreds of waiting people and on to the ticket counters to arrange our onward travel. We booked tickets that night to Athens and arrived to a hotel at 2 AM.
This is something we could have never have anticipated in our wildest thoughts. As I write this we are staying in Greece to as we book our tickets to Los Angeles.
While I am so thankful to God for watching over us and to “Save our Allies” for being there for us, my heart and soul is burdened for Israel and all the people who are and will be affected by this war.
We will do all we can to help people there.
My mind goes to the words of King David, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2).
As I am writing this the 14th of October, we just received an email from the the American Embassy, in Jerusalem. It says, “The U.S. government is assisting U.S. nationals and immediate family members with a valid travel document to depart Haifa via sea for Cyprus on October 16, at 0800. Please follow these instructions carefully . . .Before boarding the ship, you will be asked to sign a promissory note (promise to repay the U.S. government) for the cost . . .”
“Save our Allies” never asked for anything.
We did not sign anything, there was no written agreement of any kind. They said, “Thank you for letting us help you.”
We say, “Thank you” to Tim Kennedy, Ann Barger, and Will Reeves along with all of the people with “Save our Allies”. What an amazing team.
Larry and Janet Neville
PC Global Network