As the war rages on in Israel, we are hearing directly from an Erie native, who has lived in Israel for the past 16 years.

She said since the war began on Saturday, it’s been nearly impossible to sleep with bombs going off what seems like every minute. And like many Israelis, she’s exhausted and scared but said Israel must protect itself.

McDowell High School graduate Miri Gantshar moved to Israel in 2007. She lives in a small village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just 35 miles from Gaza.

Gantshar said since moving to Israel, she’s lived through many wars, but this one is different.

“The soldiers are dying, thousands, well over a thousand have died. Local boys are being buried,” Gantshar said. “We’re all trying to help. I had kids and adults and we were packing food and collecting money from America.”

As a barrage of missiles continues to be exchanged between the two countries, civilians are living on edge.

“Until we get the siren, in which we need to get, we have where I live we have about 90 seconds to get into the safe room. But down outside the Gaza border, it’s 15. Which is why we recently took in a beautiful family from the south,” Gantshar explained.

Gantshar’s son, who’s living here in the U.S., went back to Israel to help protect his family and his country.

“They say if a lot of the world laid down their arms there might be peace, but if Israel were to lay down their arms there would be no more Israel,” Gantshar went on to say.

Gantshar said her husband has already secured more than $15,000 in donations from his American friends to help support their community.

That’s going to need a lot of help in the coming days and months.