Teens in Israel: 'Everybody wants peace'

South Florida teenagers talk about life in Israel as bombings continue

Published On: Nov 19 2012 04:51:40 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 20 2012 11:15:22 AM EST
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. -

Local 10's John Turchin talks with two teenagers who are currently studying in Israel as fighting there continues.

Eitan Yaniv and Jeremy Memmi, both 18 years old, are living in Israel for the year, where they are learning the language, culture, and more about their heritage. The two teenagers spoke with Turchin via Skype Monday.

"It can be very scary. Sometimes, the missiles will land closer than you think they will," said Yaniv. "And, you can really hear the boom and feel the earth shake under you."

"You have to be on your toes, keep your eyes open, know who's around you -- just be aware of your environment," said Memmi. “We could see through our window two rockets heading toward Tel Aviv. We gave it another five seconds and we were looking into the sky and we just see a huge explosion –- and it was the Iron Dome and it just knocked the two rockets out of the sky.”

"When it happens, it happens so fast, you only have a minute and a half to get to a shelter," added Yaniv.

Both urged Americans to withhold biases regarding the fighting in the Middle East, whether they support Israel or Palestine.

"I'm very strongly considering the Israeli military at the end of the month. The reason is that I feel such a strong connection to the country, I have a lot of family from here, a lot of friends, and, just being a part of my heritage and my religion, I just feel a very, very strong connection to here, and it feels as if I'm at home," said Yaniv. "I didn't want to leave a country I love so much at a time like this when this is what happens here."

"Really? Why?" asked Turchin.

""Because I feel as though I have an obligation to help in any way that I can, or as much as I can... just because I had a lot of family that went through the army and I have friends that are going in now and I had friends called back from the reserves... and I want to be there to support in any way that I can, whether it's volunteering or actually fighting," replied Yaniv. "Enough is enough. It's very disheartening to know that a people hate a country or its inhabitants so much that they would keep trying to send these missiles and keep trying to hurt the civilians."

"Everybody wants peace. As much fighting as goes on, the real goal, I think, is people just want to end it," said Memmi.

Turchin's mother and sister recently returned from Israel, where they were on a 11 day tour with 20 others, many from South Florida. They spent the last week in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Three U.S. Navy amphibious warships are returning to the eastern Mediterranean to remain on standby in the event they are needed to assist Americans leaving Israel in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials.

A majority of Americans say that Israel's current military strikes against Gaza are justified, according to a new national survey.