(WGHP) — Fuel for nightmares is how one couple living just north of Tel Aviv describes the images and stories coming out of the southern part of Israel.
“We’ve lost a lot, and we don’t know what’s to come,” said Yolanda Hairston Adar, a Winston-Salem native who moved to Israel more than a decade ago.
Yolanda and her husband Daniel sat inside their saferoom Monday and described the fear and uncertainty of the conflict.
“There is confusion. This is something that has never happened of this magnitude, and we are still trying to digest,” Daniel said. “We started the day not knowing it was going to be an unforgettable day and few weeks.”
The couple woke up around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Slowly, they started to see pictures and videos of men, women, children and the elderly being killed and taken hostage in the southern part of their country.
Two images haunt Yolanda. The first is a picture of 25-year-old Noa Argamani shown in a video on the back of a militant’s motorcycle, pleading for her life.
“That broke me because I know what they’re probably going to do to her,” Yolanda said.
The second is a video of an elderly woman being kidnapped in a golf cart alongside militants.
“She has dementia, and they have her in a golf cart, and maybe it’s a blessing she doesn’t understand what’s going on but to kidnap a grandmother,” Yolanda said. “We’ve been through this before, but nothing like this. Dany and I have been saying this is our Sept. 11, Pearl Harbor because it was a complete surprise.”
To help friends overseas in the United States understand, I likened the situation to another terrifying experience: a mass shooting.
“Imagine every place you go, you have a crazy man with an AR-15. There was not one shooter. There were hundreds,” Daniel said. “This is what it was in south Israel.”
Apart from members of Hamas swarming homes and towns, thousands of missiles have flown across Israeli skies, pushing millions of people into hiding in their safe rooms.
Daniel’s mother is 90 years old and lives closer to the conflict. He was able to check on her Sunday night to make sure she had everything she needed and stayed in her safe room.
Daniel and Yolanda haven’t felt the direct impacts of violence from where they are in the northern part of the country, but they say the violence sits heavy on everyone.
“Even if you are personally safe, you live with other human beings, you care about everything and you know what’s happening. It’s happening to people you know and even people you don’t know,” Daniel said.
The pair says they can’t allow themselves to be sad for too long and instead must focus on images of bravery and strength. They’re praying for all the people in the reserves who are putting on uniforms and taking up arms for the first time in decades to save their children and grandchildren.
“Just the policeman with a single gun against an RPG or an AR-15. They still went to fight, knowing they could die, but they could save a family, and they did it. Those are heroes,” Daniel said.
They admit the emotions around this situation politically are complicated.
“Israel always gets criticized … most often times, rightly so. Neither side is right completely, and neither side is wrong completely, but the difference is we’re being fired on indiscriminately,” Yolanda said.
The Adar’s next big fear is if a northern front were to open in this conflict involving Lebanon.
“My main worry in the future is Hezbollah from Lebanon will join,” Daniel said. “They are a strong country with an army. It’s like having a terrorist organization in South Carolina with all the missiles pointing at you.”
For now, the pair is making sure they have enough supplies for the next 72 hours to stay in their safe room.
A directive from local officials told millions of people Monday evening to be prepared for power and phone outages.