ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - An Ormond Beach, Florida woman moved to Israel with her parents when she was just 15 years old. She’s now married and has a two-year-old daughter. Her family in the United States is offering to pay for a flight back, but she wants to stay with her people.
"We got out of bed, grabbed our daughter, and ran down the stairs," said Sarah. "We were banging on our neighbors’ doors on the way down."
On October 7, Sarah says she woke up to sirens going off. She says that’s normal for people in Israel, but this attack felt different. She ran to a bomb shelter with her daughter.
"It's really scary," said Sarah. "And you have to always be prepared. Like if you're scared to go to the bathroom, you're scared to take a shower,"
Her husband is in the Israeli military, so he had to check into work right away. He’s not on the front lines, but he is working day and night.
"I'm basically home by myself with my baby, but this is the sacrifice that we have to do for our country," said Sarah. "This is small compared to what other women are going through."
She’s been in Israel for nine years, and it feels like home. Her siblings in the US have tried to buy a flight back home for Sarah and her daughter since her husband can’t leave, but she wants to stay in Israel.
"It's tough because, you know, on the one hand, you care about the safety of your child and your family, but it's also this sense of pride in your country of not wanting to leave," said Sarah.
Sarah says her family is lucky to be alive. All her siblings were supposed to fly to Israel for the holiday Simchat Torah, but they couldn’t enter. Had they flown in, their entire family would have been at Sarah’s parents' house near the Gaza Strip. But since the siblings couldn’t travel, Sarah and her parents were out of town when the attacks started.
"My parent’s neighbor was at home, and she saw physically saw the terrorists knocking at my parent’s door and trying to get in and trying to break in," said Sarah. "And I wouldn't want to even imagine what would have happened if we all had been there."
Despite all the horror happening around her and to people in Israel, she will stay in Central Israel.
"It's dangerous, even though it's scary, and it's traumatizing, but this is what we have to do in order to keep our mission alive,"
She says she hopes sharing her story will educate others on what is happening.
"If anyone is siding with Hamas and with the horrible tragedies that are going on, it's not justifiable in any shape or form," said Sarah. "It doesn't matter who you are and what you believe in. If somebody sides with evil, then they're on the wrong side of history."