NEW YORK (PIX11) – Former PIX11 News reporter Rebecca Solomon has safely made it out of Israel after she and her family were temporarily stranded there amid the country’s ongoing war with the Hamas militant group.
Solomon was in the country with her husband and baby girl over the weekend when Hamas launched its deadly attack on Israel. On Thursday, Solomon was able to catch a flight out of Israel to Greece. She has a layover in another country before she heads back to the United States.
For several days after the Hamas attack, Solomon and her family were unable to leave Israel due to the low availability of flights out of the country and expensive airline prices.
The former PIX11 reporter described the situation as a “nightmare” and said getting out of Israel “is not easy.” She shared her frustrations in an interview.
“One-way tickets home are so expensive right now, and there are hundreds of people stranded here in Israel who want to get home and don’t have the money to pay what they’re asking for,” Solomon told PIX11 News on Monday. “And there’s not that much availability. Flights are canceled, they are booked.”
Solomon had contacted the U.S. Department of State and was told she was essentially on her own and should book any flight out she could find. The U.S. government has been criticized for not doing more to help Americans stranded in the country.
Solomon said she and her family were stuck in the central part of Israel, about an hour away from Gaza. Her family woke up to sirens Saturday morning when Hamas launched its attack. During the time she was stranded in Israel, Solomon said she was advised to remain close to home and near bomb shelters.
“The biggest threat right now is what’s happening up in the sky, which are rockets. But we do have a bomb shelter, as does the entire country. There are bomb shelters everywhere, and that’s been our safe haven,” Solomon had said.
The Israel-Hamas war has claimed at least 1,900 lives on both sides since the weekend.
Hamas militants stormed through a border fence Saturday and killed hundreds of Israelis in their homes, on the streets and at an outdoor music festival. The militant group also took dozens of hostages.
Hamas said it launched its attack Saturday because Palestinians’ suffering had become intolerable under unending Israeli military occupation, increasing settlements in the West Bank and a 16-year-long blockade in Gaza.
In retaliation to Hamas’ attack, Israel has unleashed what Gaza residents described as the most intense bombing campaign in recent memory. In Gaza, at least 900 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, including 260 children and 230 women, according to authorities there.
Israeli warplanes have hammered the Gaza Strip, reducing buildings to rubble and sending people scrambling to find safety in the tiny, sealed-off territory.
Humanitarian groups have pleaded for the creation of corridors to get aid into Gaza and warned that hospitals overwhelmed with wounded people were running out of supplies. Israel has stopped entry of food, fuel and medicines into Gaza.
Numerous protests from both sides of the conflict have been held in New York City in response to Hamas’ attack and the subsequent war.
A rally and march in support of Palestinians was held Thursday in Brooklyn. Demonstrators condemned Israel and its bombing of Gaza.
Thousands of people gathered in Manhattan Tuesday for a rally in support of Israel in the wake of Hamas’ attack.
New York City is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, with about 2 million Jewish people living in the city and surrounding areas.
Finn Hoogensen is a digital journalist who has covered local news for more than five years. He has been with PIX11 News since 2022. See more of his work here.