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Jacksonville resident visiting Israel describes devastation amid Israeli-Palestinian conflict

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In the midst of one of the deadliest days in decades in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, a Jacksonville man currently in Israel has shared his perspective on the violence.

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Action News Jax’s Nick Gibson spoke with Amir Lavi, who is currently in Israel, who expressed the devastating impact of the recent events in Israel.

Amir Lavi, a Jacksonville resident, had been in Israel for two weeks, visiting family to celebrate a Jewish holiday.

Lavi described the situation as unprecedented, stating, “We’ve never had something like this.”

Lavi and his family had never anticipated being caught in the middle of a war when they initially traveled to Israel.

Lavi likened the situation to the Israeli equivalent of 9/11, highlighting the severity of the events unfolding in the region.

Israel has declared war against the militant terrorist group Hamas, which is responsible for hundreds of Israeli casualties following a surprise attack on Saturday, marking the latest incident in a series of conflicts between Arabs and Israelis over the past 75 years since modern-day Israel’s formation.

READ: Hamas attack: A historical timeline of conflict between Israel, Arabs

Although Lavi and his family are currently located a few hours north of Gaza, they had been in the vicinity just days before the conflict escalated.

Lavi recalled, “We’ve been traveling in the desert two days ago, just before this started, with all the family and kids. We were pretty close to that area.”

Lavi noted “So to be honest all of Israel is kind of in a lockdown. First off the morale is very down. People don’t want to go to work. They don’t want to do things that you need to do.”

Marian Feist, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida, also shared her thoughts on the situation, stating “It’s going to be a short answer, I think it’s going to be a long-term and we will see how it plays out.”

Despite the challenges, Feist highlighted the resilience of the Jewish and Israeli communities, emphasizing their determination to stand strong during these trying times.

The eruption of violence comes at a difficult time for Israel, which is facing the biggest protests in its history over Netanyahu’s proposal to weaken the Supreme Court while he is on trial for corruption.

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