Birmingham man describes recent trip to Israel

Violence in Israel has prompted several airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration to suspend flights to the nation’s main airport in Tel Aviv.

Delta, United and US Airways immediately cancelled flights to Israel after the attack. The FAA is now prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying to the Tel Aviv airport for at least 24-hours.

Most of us have only seen video of the rockets launched and the devastation they leave behind in Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.

Daniel Odrezin, experienced the conflict first hand. Wednesday, July 9th Daniel Odrezin landed in Tel Aviv.

“As we were flying in you could see fighter jets out far in the distance and when we landed and got off the plane, the first thing we were met by was a sign directing us to the closest shelter if air sirens were to go off,” Daniel Odrezin said.

Odrezin is the Assistant Executive Director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation. He went to Israel as part of an educational trip with the Jewish Federations of North America.

His first morning in Israel, sirens woke him up warning him to go to the nearest shelter.

“The first thing that goes through your head is a sense of shock and you’ve heard about this and you were expecting it but you don’t really know what it feels like,” Odrezin said.

Odrezin says the people who live in Israel know exactly what it feels like. He says for them it’s everyday life.

“I think it’s something that the Israeli people are used to and it’s something that we here in the United States have no frame of reference and cannot imagine what it would be like,” Odrezin said.

Even though he was so close to the conflict, Odrezin said he still felt safe.

“Israel to this point has not closed Ben Gurion Airport and if they felt there was a threat to incoming or outgoing flights they would close the airport,” Odrezin said.

He also said based on his experience during the trip, he believes it’s important that people who want to go to Israel, be able to do so.

“What is meaningful is to talk to Israelis and feel how much that they appreciate that people are still coming to Israel, that people are coming to show their support, that people aren’t running away and when you have a conversation with an Israeli who is so grateful for that, it means everything in the world,” Odrezin said.

Copyright WIAT 42 News 2014

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