As the war rages on in Israel, we are hearing directly from an Erie native, living in Israel, about what the past couple of days have been like for her and her family.
The McDowell High School graduate said it’s nearly impossible to sleep with bombs going off what seems like every minute. And although she’s mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted, she and others in her community are cooking for soldiers and raising money to buy supplies for the troops.
One mom has said she’s been filled with anxiety while living in a house that continuously shakes almost every 30 seconds.
An Erie native who currently lives in Israel describes this war as something she has never experienced before.
“The mood is not good. The tension, unlike other wars, I can’t compare it to anything,” said Miri Gantshar, an Erie native who lives in Israel.
Miri Gantshar grew up in Erie, spending her summers at Presque Isle.
The 1984 McDowell graduate was heavily involved in dancing at Little Dance Studio and at the Erie Playhouse.
“Growing up, we always had an awareness of Israel, and I think that post holocaust, I think it was just a fixture in most families that we always had to be aware that there would always be a place and a safe haven,” Gantshar said.
Gantshar has never been to Israel before but after one visit she fell in love with the spirit of the country. Gantshar and her husband took the leap to move in 2007 following her Jewish faith.
“Six children, I got my masters in psychology, and one month later we were on a plane, sold our massive home, left everything behind, including good friends and many loved ones, for a very deep passion,” Gantshar explained.
Gantshar lives between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which is about 30 miles away from Gaza. When the sirens alarm, she and her family have 90 seconds to get to a safe place.
She told us that she has opened her home to other families who are closer to the crossfire.
“We’re all in a state of shock. We are always ready, and we were not ready. And they say where was the intelligence? Why weren’t people called? It’s so unusual. It feels like, not to compare, but a kind of a Holocaust,” she said.
Gantshar said that she has received great support from those she knows in America.
“If Israel were to lay down their arms, there would be no more Israel. So we are clinging to the hope that everybody will understand,” Gantshar went on to say.
Gantshar’s husband has raised more than $10,000 in 24 hours from American donors for their community and hopes that there can be some peace soon.