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Operation Iron Swords

Israelis overseas, including Messianic Jews and our staff at AIN, are returning home to fight, will leave family, work and businesses behind

Israelis abroad unified: ‘This is a fight to protect our home’

Israeli military reservists arrive at a gathering point near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, October 7, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90

When the first images of Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel began pouring in, the world was shocked. But for many Israelis living overseas, that shock turned into resolve.

It was time to return home to fight.

Yotam Avrahami, an Israeli who has lived in New York for four years, is one of those returning to join the war effort.

Avrahami, who is leaving his wife and 7-month-old daughter in the U.S., told the New York Times that the images of friends and loved ones under attack in Israel convinced him to return.

“It’s the thought that you have friends that will be in immediate danger, and you cannot help them,” Avrahami said. “You’re trying to protect them. It’s as simple as that.”

Avrahami purchased a one-way ticket to Israel for more than $2,000. He said his wife was concerned for his safety, but “she understands the necessity.”

Avrahami sent out dozens of emails to notify clients he would not be available for the foreseeable future.

Canadian-born Noy Leyb, a tech entrepreneur who founded his own company in New York, is another Israeli who is ready to serve.

“I've not slept,” Leyb told Ynet news. “I keep asking myself what I am doing here. I see pictures of friends gearing up and asking for a ride to their base and am going crazy.”

Leyb describes the struggle to find a ticket to Israel as airlines began canceling flights.

“I made a million calls and purchased a ticket on United Airlines, but that flight was canceled. Then I found one on Delta and that flight was canceled as well.”

Leyb eventually found a flight with El Al for $2,500.

Hundreds of young Israelis traveling throughout India after finishing their military service have also been trying to return home.

One of the young men there, Guy, described his experience: “I was in Pushkar during Shabbat, I was in prayers. In the morning and afternoon, there were already rumors about everything that was happening.”

He sent a series of WhatsApp messages to Kippah, a religious newspaper in Israel, explaining his attempts to get back to Israel.

“We are on a taxi three Israelis, each from a different unit who want to enlist, we were looking for plane tickets and we hope there will be flights,” he texted.

“There are problems with the flights, it's a real mess because there are flights that are canceled, there are many WhatsApp groups that only deal with ways to get to Israel, there are all kinds of organizations of groups of reservists who are here in India and the surrounding countries, to organize together for organized flight,” he explained. “I really hope that the flight I booked will actually reach Israel.”

Eviatar Shamsayev, a 35-year-old teacher from Jerusalem who has been working as a teacher in Manhattan, is also returning.

“We are a group of 50 people who have not been in the reserves for years because we've been living abroad, but now everyone will be volunteering for service,” Shamsayev said. “This is a fight to protect our home. My blood boils. My sister has been calling me from her shelter, crying.”  

Greek City Times reported that around 5,000 Israeli reservists in different locations in Greece were flying home from Athens to join the war effort.

Some ALL ISRAEL NEWS staff members have also been called up for duty.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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