Minnetonka family who was visiting loved ones in Israel when attacks began now home
In the days since the Hamas attacks in Israel, David Lui and his wife Amy Rosenblatt Lui have been trying to get back to Minnesota.
“It was a relief to be home, a relief,” said Rosenblatt Lui, after the couple returned Tuesday after more than 30 hours of travel back to the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.
Many airlines have canceled flights in and out of Israel.
The family bought several plane tickets trying to leave Israel, they were finally able to get seats on a U.S. Charter flight from Ben Gurion Airport to Greece.
On Monday, the U.S. government chartered a cruise ship to help evacuate Americans from Israel.
Earlier this month, the couple traveled to Israel to visit family and friends around Tel Aviv.
“We were by the beach, everyone having a great time, we had a phenomenal, beautiful Shabbat dinner, 5:30 in the morning, we got calls things were not good,” Rosenblatt Lui said.
That’s when Hamas fighters began their assault on parts of Israel on Oct. 7.
The couple said they escaped rockets by fleeing to the bomb shelters during their time in Israel.
“It’s truly frightening, your heart stops,” Rosenblatt Lui said about when rocket alerts go off.
“You have this experience where you see the streaks of the incoming rockets, come across the sky, and streaks from Iron Dome (air defense system) across to meet them, a puff of smoke, then you count…one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand, and then you hear the boom,” Lui described of rockets being intercepted.
While at their hotel, the couple said they met families, sometimes generations of families, who escaped the violence from other areas in the country and told stories of survival by escaping the gunmen in their neighborhood.
“I looked at all of these people, these people really could have easily all been dead,” Lui said. “The flip of a coin… that saves your life or makes you be dead.”
Now back in Minnesota, the couple is thinking about loved ones back in Israel.
“We think about their safety, we think about their lives, we think about how the community is mobilizing to support the soldiers come in, and really fighting for life,” Rosenblatt Lui said. “I think the strength of Israel is its people.”