East Texas rabbi witnesses rocket strikes in Jerusalem - FOX Carolina 21

East Texas rabbi witnesses rocket strikes in Jerusalem

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Rabbi Neal Katz in Israel. (Source: Facebook) Rabbi Neal Katz in Israel. (Source: Facebook)
Jerusalem after sirens sound. (Source: Facebook) Jerusalem after sirens sound. (Source: Facebook)

Rockets and missiles continue to fall over Israel and one East Texas rabbi is in the thick of it. Rabbi Neal Katz, of Beth El Congregation in Tyler has been traveling through Israel for more than two weeks. He is attending a rabbi study program about war and peace in Jerusalem.

In a Facebook post Tuesday night, the East Texan described the scene as sirens sounded through the city of Jerusalem alerting citizens to seek shelter from rockets. The terrorist group Hamas, which occupies the Gaza strip in Israel, has sent hundreds of missiles and rockets into various Israeli cities over the past several days. Katz spoke with KLTV by phone Wednesday as he explained how the sound of sirens has become the norm for local people.

“We ran into the bomb shelter, which is what the protocol is. We were there about 10 minutes. You file in and then you go on about your daily life,” he explained.

An app on his iPhone alerts him when and where rockets are falling.

“Every other minute I get a little, my phone buzzes,” he said.

He explained that the rockets don’t make it to Jerusalem often.

“I’m not used to constant rockets,” he said.

But in Israel, he calls it a different sense of normalcy that Americans can’t comprehend. Having dangerous neighbors, terrorists at the border firing rockets, leaving imprints in their earth, is all just daily life.

“There are 100,000 people shopping right now in Israel. And people who come over for trips they hear a rocket go off and go into the bomb shelter inside the store, then when the siren stops they complete their purchase,” he explained.

He said he feels safe and that the country is not a war zone like Americans may think.

“I was reading a bunch of tweets that were sent out during the siren attack, the siren rounds last night, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Israelis are making jokes,” he said.

He described the sirens as a nuisance, but there is never fear of the results.

“Yes, Hamas is shooting these rockets today, who knows what is going to happen tomorrow, but life goes on here and that’s the story of Israel, right?”

A story and his studies about war and peace are now his reality. Katz has been to Jerusalem several times over the past twenty years. He said the issues are serious and the threat is real, but daily life goes on, nonetheless. His trip comes to an end Thursday and he will be back home in East Texas on Friday.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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