Home News Israel-bound travelers fly from JFK Airport with Iran attack on their minds

Israel-bound travelers fly from JFK Airport with Iran attack on their minds

Staunch supporters of Israel told the Daily News on Sunday they didn’t fear flying there after Iran launched hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles in an unprecedented retaliatory attack the day before.

Several Israel-bound travelers waiting at John F. Kennedy International Airport said they remained resolute after the country’s anti-air defenses intercepted the attack.

“I’m no more concerned than I would be in any other event,” Barry Picker, 71, told The News as he waited for a flight at the airport’s El Al terminal. “I’m in Jerusalem and I like to think it’s safe. My family over there is safe.”

Picker, like several other travelers heading to Israel, said he worried his flight might be canceled.

“I’ve been planning this trip since January, I live in New York but also stay on Israel from time to time,” he recounted. “I always have a concern regarding the future, but also as a religious (man), a lot of it is in God’s hands.”

The Iranian attack followed an apparent Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1 that killed two generals and five officers. It came amid fears of a widening conflict in the region sine war broke out between Israel and Hamas six months ago.

Hamas militants launched a coordinated surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government responded with a sustained assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed an estimated 30,000 Palestinians over the past six months and left Gaza’s residents isolated, with dwindling access to food, water and healthcare.

Israel has faced a growing international outcry about the war, along with accusations that the army has recklessly fired on civilians. More than 200 humanitarian workers have been killed in the conflict, according to the U.N.

The Israeli military said Friday that it dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others for their roles in drone strikes in Gaza that recently killed seven aid workers on a food-delivery mission, saying they had mishandled critical information and violated the army’s rules of engagement.

The findings of a retired general’s investigation into the Monday killings marked an embarrassing admission by Israel, which faces growing accusations from key allies, including the U.S., of not doing enough to protect Gaza’s civilians from its war on Hamas.

The findings are likely to bolster widespread skepticism over the Israeli military’s decision-making. Palestinians, aid groups and human rights organizations have repeatedly accused Israeli forces of firing recklessly at civilians throughout the conflict — a charge Israel denies.

Rabbi Mendy Klahr, 27, said he worried about Israeli airspace being shut down because of Iran’s attack, but it turned out his flight wasn’t cancelled.

“My family is there, I’m visiting my parents and in-laws. I’m very proud going over there, showing support and the purpose for terrorism is to scare people and they did a little bit but our job is to win it and show that we are strong,” he told The News.

“This is my first time going back there since October. There’s always something happening when I go back there,” he said.

Another traveler, Jacob Mordechai, suggested divine intervention helped Israel intercept the missiles before they did serious damage, echoing a sentiment repeated by several people at the airport.

“When I first heard about the attacks, all I said was, God is watching,” the 60-year-old said. “I’m not concerned at all, God has been protecting us.”

Moria Ozeri, 61, added, “I don’t know how to feel, we were able to defend ourselves but the attack was alarming.

“On one hand everyone, was in fear and on the other hand, they were praying for a miracle … There were miracles.”

One man, a 63-year-old New York native who lives in Israel and didn’t give his name, said the attack should spur other nations into action against Iran.

“People aren’t scared, they are resolute,” he said. “The young people are resolute, everyone is resolute. It’s sad because the west doesn’t see that we are slowly seeing the demise of western civilization.”

With Wire Services


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