A North Miami family who went to Israel for their first vacation since the pandemic began have been taking cover as tensions between Israel and Hamas escalated into numerous rocket strikes this week.
Denise Tamir and her family went to Tel Aviv on Mother’s Day weekend, but while at dinner, they had to seek shelter.
“We actually went here to have a family vacation,” Tamir said. “To our surprise it ended up a little bit more interesting a vacation than we were expecting. Somewhere between the appetizers and the main course, the alarms started to go off. We all had to race to a bomb shelter. We could hear the Iron Dome taking out rockets over our heads.”
Cellphone video from inside of the bomb shelter captured the scared family embracing each other during the attack.
“The one who seemed to be the most nonplussed about the whole thing is my mother, who is 82 and a Holocaust survivor,” Tamir said, “and she seemed to be the most calm of everyone. She was hugging everybody and keeping everybody calm while all of this was going on.”
The anxiety brought on by the rocket attacks is not only felt in Tel Aviv, but in South Florida, too.
Isaac Younis owns the popular Etzel Itzik Astoria Deli in Northeast Miami-Dade. He said his brother and others in Tel Aviv sent chilling videos of one of Israel’s marquee cities and its suburbs under attack.
“I called my brother today,” Younis said. “He couldn’t answer me, and then he sent me a message, ‘I’m in a bunker. There’s no reception.’”
Tamir later texted to inform that she and her family had to get to their hotel’s shelter after explosions and more rounds of rocket fire were heard.
“The situation is definitely tense, but the way Israelis always do, we band together as a family, and we’re all in this together,” Tamir said.
Tamir sent another text at around 9 p.m. Tuesday that said, “Heard a round a few minutes ago. I can hear explosions in the distance.”