Our Miraculous exit from Tel Aviv Saturday October 7
By Judy Davis
My two children, their spouses and I arrived on a sparkling perfect day October 6 and enjoyed a wonderful peaceful day in Tel Aviv, not a care in the world. We were to have a second day and then two more in Jerusalem before heading home after a cruise with ports in Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Israel.
At 8:00 am 10/7/23, I turned on the news in my hotel room to hear Israel was at war that had begun at 6:30 am.
At 8:15 am, my daughter Tracy and her husband Marty were out walking, unaware Israel was at war. They said they were hearing something in the distance. Realizing it was missiles, they returned to the hotel immediately.
I woke my son Mike and told him to come to my room where Tracy and Marty had just arrived. It was about 9:00 am.
My thoughts, as the news reported the severity of the invasion, was of the Jews in Germany who didn’t leave. We all knew we would do everything in our power to get out.
Tracy got on the phone to Turkish Airlines that we had transatlantic tickets on from Istanbul. Within an excruciating but patient 45 minutes, we requested tickets to Istanbul only. Somehow, we secured five tickets—a miracle.
While that was taking place, our next challenge was how were we going to get from the hotel to the airport with a war and on Shabbat? The desk at the hotel said they would see what they could do.
Again, miraculously, I had the phone number of the driver who had brought us to Tel Aviv after disembarking. He answered immediately and while he was unavailable, he called around until he found someone who would come and take us to the airport. We were being watched over.
And then the sirens went off. Mike woke my daughter-in-law Tracey and we gathered into the safety of the stairwell of our hotel. Soon after, we were able to return to our room and got a text our driver— was arriving in 3 minutes! We fled.
We arrived at Ben Gurion 4 1/2 hours after the war began.
It wasn’t until 9:00 pm after complete but quiet chaos, and many prayers and worries that they would close the airport, we boarded. Then the sirens went off again, but soon ended. After sitting on the tarmac without moving for about one hour, our blessed plane moved away from the gate. Wheels up very soon after to cheers and applause like no other I’ve ever heard except when that plane landed in Istanbul.
We had made it to safety.
These are the words of my friend who was senior flight attendant on Canada air her whole career:
As someone trained in emergency psychology and response, I can tell you that SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, FAST ACTION and PERSEVERANCE brought you out of there … may your experience be a lesson wherever, and in whatever situation, we find ourselves. “
We left behind the bravest and tragic people of Israel, who suffer under the barbarism of Hamas. We pray for them, their families, and loved ones at this terrible time.
I have now seen firsthand, the tragedy of 9/11 out my window, watching the towers go down, and now in Israel’s 10/7, their 9/11.
All one can do is hope for love in the world, not this terrible hatred.
Judy Davis lives in New York City. She is retired from the very successful event company she founded, and her daughter now runs. She is one of the very first subscribers to The Three Tomatoes newsletters.
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