Alabama native is an Israeli soldier, fought along Gaza border

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Even though they are in the middle of a cease fire, the conflict between Israel and Hamas Over the Gaza strip is far from over and some of the people on the front lines are American citizens.

Roughly one thousand American citizens serve in the Israeli army. Two American citizens were killed in action last month in Gaza.

WIAT 42 News spoke with a man who grew up in Alabama and just recently returned from serving on the Gaza border.

Eytan Morgenstern lives in Israel now but he grew up in Montgomery.

“You know I’ll tell you what, first of all it’s been a great talking point throughout my entire life since. Whenever you meet anyone in Israel who is from Alabama they’re like what were you doing there, so it’s definitely a great conversation starter,” Eytan Morgenstern said.

Morgenstern lived a year in Israel as a child. After college, he decided to move back and served in the Israeli army.

After his service, Morgenstern got married, started a family, and then about a month ago he was called back to the army.

“You know you get a phone call, ‘tomorrow morning be on base. We’re going to have to get you ready to go active duty for a little bit,” Morgenstern said.

Eytan had to leave his wife and 10 month old daughter alone to go fight along the Hamas controlled Gaza strip.

“On the one hand, you’re proud and excited to be part of an effort to defend the Israeli people. On the other hand, it’s really difficult to leave your wife and daughter behind. You know you don’t know if it’s going to be the last time you say goodbye to them,” Morgenstern said.

Morgenstern is a dual citizen of Israel and America and he fought beside other Americans who came to Israel to fight for the country.

“They picked up and changed their lives because they believed in something and I think that’s something Americans can identify with,” Morgenstern said.

Eytan has been home for about a week. Now, he says he’s spending time with his family and hoping for peace.

“I don’t think anybody knows how the end is going to look, but I want peace, Israelis want peace. We don’t want to be called up in the middle of our lives to war. We want to live our lives like anybody else,” Morgenstern said.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News.

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