“There’s just so many horror stories. And they all hit very close to home,” said Carmel Ederi, a local resident who survived the Hamas terrorist attack.
Carmel Ederi and her husband Yosi say they are grateful to be alive and back home in the Coachella Valley after being trapped in a warzone.
“We are still traumatized. Nightmares at night,” Yori said.
Carmel added, “Seeing our friends being buried on Facebook live.”
The couple and their three young children were visiting family in an Israeli town just a few miles from the Gaza Strip when on the morning of October 7, they suddenly heard sirens, gunshots, and rockets.
“It was raining rockets,” Carmel said. “It became literally like an action horror film.”
The family took this cellphone video as they hid in a basement for several hours terrified and confused.
When they finally emerged, they discovered the carnage that Hamas militants had unleashed on their town.. including ‘this’ police station that had been decimated.
“Places where we would walk, the day before with our children outside just going to the bakery or going to the grocery store, people were dead and lying dead on the streets,” Carmel said.
Adding to their heartache, many of their friends and relatives had been murdered including Yosi’s cousin who they just had dinner with the night before the attack.
“He got shot in the head, then they burned his body. It took us a week to ID him, because he was completely burned,” Yosi said.
And this family they know had been kidnapped, including children who are four and six months old.
“Nobody knows where they are. Are they fed? I mean I have a 10-month-old. How do you take care of a six-month-old baby in Gaza? How do you do that when those are the same people who just killed your family and friends and everyone around you?” Carnek said.
For days, the Ederis desperately tried to escape Israel but nearly all flights were fully-booked or canceled. They say they finally managed to get on a last-minute flight to Greece ultimately allowing them to return to the U.S.
“How lucky do you feel to have gotten out?” Peter Daut asked.
Carmel answered, “That’s a very tricky question.”
Yosi added, “Lucky and sad at the same time, because we left a lot of family over there and friends.”
Carmel said, “There’s a lot of survival guilt.”
As the family struggles to process their emotions, they’re fearful about what will happen next in Israel. Meanwhile, they want to share this message.
“We don’t want kids to get killed. Not in Gaza, not in Israel, but right now, we are at war, and we need to defend ourself,” Yosi said.
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