Conflict in Middle East Raises Concern - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Conflict in Middle East Raises Concern

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Conflict in the Middle East raises concern as two rockets have been fired near Israel's two most populous cities, and the continued fighting between Israel and Hamas militants is affecting many, even here in Florida.

The sound of sirens rang through Jerusalem Friday, not ones signifying the Sabbath, rather, ones alerting danger.

"What happened was I'm going down the street and all of a sudden we hear this siren that we have never heard before, and I'm by myself," says Scott Gellman, a Floridian going to rabbinical school in Jerusalem.  "I had nothing else to do, no one else around, and I quickly bolted into a random apartment building and just kind of hunkered down at the bottom of their stairwell.

Hamas militants confirmed they have fired rockets towards Jerusalem on Friday. While the rockets hit south of the city and there were no reports of damage, the continued strikes from Gaza have many fearing, what's next?

"Us being in Jerusalem, we felt like we were invincible," says Gellman. "We were far away. Even Tel Aviv was out of the range of the rockets. Then today that all changed. When today we heard the sirens."

According to the Israel Defense Forces, on Friday alone, more than 97 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel. Another 99 have been intercepted by Israel's missile defense system.

"For Israel to face hundreds of rockets a day at its civilians, that are aimed at its civilians, with the purpose of killing its civilians, any county would respond," says Gellman.  

Israel has responded with air strikes, killing a high military Hamas commander.

Those in Israel, however, are not the only ones concerned. For Dr. Larry Wade, who has led more than 65 religious trips to Israel, the Holy Land is on his mind here in Panama City.

"I want them going away understanding about Israel, about its history, about the plight that they've been through, and to show them its that way because the scripture thought that," says Wade.  

While there is no sign of the end, leading the Israel Defense Forces to 'mobilizes forces' in preparation of a possible ground invasion, Dr. Wade has the confidence the IDF will come out on top.

"If they decide to go to war, it won't be like dropping flyers saying we're coming. It will be like they're here," says Wade.  

For Gellman, the sentiment of fear will not overcome that of strength.

"While I'm nervous. I'm very excited to go about my day tomorrow. I'm excited to go about my day for the next week, and be a part of Israel in the face of this," says Gellman.