UM grad in Israel shares story

What it's like for an American living in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV, Israel - Air raid sirens sounded off in Tel Aviv Saturday after the Israeli military said its Iron Dome system shot down a Palestinian rocket aimed at the city.

Overnight, Israel launched its own rockets into the Gaza Strip, marking the third day of violence in the region.

The sounds of explosions and threats of attack are something many Israelis are used to. But for Americans who live there, it's a different story.

"In the west, we're not used to hearing about rockets being shot," said University of Miami graduate, Meredith Magill. "I was at work the other day in Tel Aviv and I heard the alarm. I was the only one panicking because I was the only American in the office."

Though Magill, 23, has called Israel home for more than a year, the threat of attacks is something she can't seem to get used to.

"Most of them have been through these kind of operations before. They've been through the war with Lebanon. They understand that when there's an alarm you go in the safe room and wait to see what happens."

Magill says families there are so used to the attacks, they barely even talk about them. On Friday night, her boyfriend was one of thousands of reservist soldiers who was called up for duty.

"We dropped him off to meet his commander and then had family dinner together. It wasn't even a topic of discussion." Magill says he had barely an hour to pack before he had to report for duty.

She spoke to Local 10 via Skype early Saturday morning from a home in Kfar Saba, a city northeast of Tel Aviv. She says Saturday there has been quiet, but that's not the case in the southern regions of the country.

There, some families are forced to use the safe rooms inside their homes almost on a weekly basis.

"In the areas that are closer to Gaza, you have sometimes less than a minute from when the alarm happens until you need to get in the shelter."

Magill and many of her American friends considered flying to Europe or back home to the United States when the initial attacks began. For now, she's staying put, hoping it will all be over soon and encouraging her friends and family back home to  pay attention to what's going on.

"Understand that every picture you see on social media isn't the truth... and try to think a little more critically."

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.