New Jersey family trapped in Israel following Hamas attack

ByDan Krauth and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, October 9, 2023
NJ family trapped in Israel following Hamas attack
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Joseph and Sandra Greenberg flew to Israel to visit family and to celebrate the Jewish holiday. That celebration quickly turned to devastation. Dan Krauth has the latest.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Joseph and Sandra Greenberg flew to Israel to visit family and to celebrate the Jewish holiday. That celebration quickly turned to devastation.

"It's a very unsettling situation," said Joseph Greenberg who spoke to Eyewitness News via Zoom from Jerusalem.

They were scheduled to fly home Tuesday but their flight has been cancelled. They're now scheduled to be on a flight next week.

"The streets are kind of like a ghost town. It's very empty. There's very few people walking around," said Sandra. "We're just taking it day by day right now because it's unsettling and it's scary. It's very scary out there," she said.

The Greenbergs have had to rush to safety, to a shelter, close to a dozen times since the attacks started Saturday.

"We heard sirens which is a warning to run to a shelter," said Joseph. "You have 90 seconds from hearing siren sounds to get a shelter, that's the estimated time and so there were 4 of 5 of those on Saturday. It's been quiet until today until we had a couple of siren warnings," he said.

And they're not alone. Numerous families are trapped. Most major airlines suspended flights. Some local community leaders are hoping the government steps in to help.

"They have more of the power and authority to do it than our non for profits," said Jason Shames, CEO of Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. "You saw Poland sent a bunch of military planes to retrieve its citizens yesterday, so that's what it's going to take."

The Greenberg's flight has already been rescheduled twice.

"There's a lot of uncertainty and a lot of tension," said Sandra.

But getting home safely isn't their only concern. They know of many families who have lost loved ones and others who have been mobilized to respond to the attacks.

"Every single family has someone called up to the reserves," said Joseph. "They've mobilized over 300,000 people so every single family has been affected by that - husbands, wives, sons, daughters."

Eyewitness News reached out to the U.S. State Department to find out how many Americans are trapped. They didn't answer our question. Instead, they sent a statement stating they're in touch with families and will "continue to monitor the situation closely."

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