NEW YORK (PIX11) — Israel Homnick and his wife arrived at JFK airport Thursday and described a long, multi-leg trip that began Wednesday in Israel.
“Air Emirates to Dubai. And then from Dubai to here, even though we live in Chicago,” said Homnick.
He said the journey started with a scary train ride to the airport in Tel Aviv.
“All of a sudden, red alerts, everybody get down,” said Homnick.
The total cost to escape the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel – is nearly double the typical airfare.
“It cost us 2,000 and 2,000. That flight to New York, there was not a seat available, said Homnick.
To address the high cost and low number of available commercial flights out of Israel, the Biden Administration announced Thursday it will step in to help, beginning Friday.
“The United States government will arrange charter flights to provide transportation from Israel to sites in Europe. To assist U.S. citizens and their immediate family members,” said National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby.
Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and several other local lawmakers pushed Biden to join the relief effort.
“We have to use as much ingenuity as we can to get our people to safety,” said Clarke.
The feds are also acknowledging there are American citizens trapped in Gaza.
But there are no formal government-sponsored operations in Gaza.
The latest U.S. Embassy Security alert warns, “The U.S. government is unable to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Gaza” and that a popular escape route through “Egypt may be closed.”
Earlier this week, Kirby stressed the U.S. government’s support for safe passage for civilians, including those trapped in Gaza, and he acknowledged ongoing conversations between the U.S. diplomatic officials and their counterparts in Egypt and Israel to facilitate their safe passage.
Meantime, Israeli-Americans continue to arrive here at JFK on long multi-leg flights, on their way to their final destination.