LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – News of the devastation unfolding in Israel is hitting close to home for one University of Arkansas student.
For Yael Even, conflict is all too familiar when it comes to her second home in Israel.
Her parents immigrated to the United States two months before she was born, though she has dual citizenship in both countries.
Growing up, she spent her summers there with family. Her grandparents and cousins still live there now,.
“I remember my uncle telling me, ‘This is Israel’s 9/11,’” she said.
While her family is safe right now, seeing all the lives lost is heartbreaking because of her connections to Israel. She said while she lives in the United States, a big piece of her is still in Israel.
“I don’t have any words because those are my people,” Even said.
Even also acknowledged the looming fear she has, even living in Arkansas as a Jewish person right now, because of what is playing out in Israel.
“I went to work today knowing today is the day that they’re going to attack the Jews so, my parents told me to be careful, especially that I’m doing this interview,” she said.
Meantime, with tonight’s deadline for people in Gaza to evacuate before Israel strikes, Even said she fears the war will go on longer than what people anticipate.
She said despite the devastation, the state of Israel right now is a sign of their strength in the face of adversity.
“I think it’s going to keep on going, and Israel declared war and we have an incredible army,” Even said. “We will finish them. We did tell them to evacuate. Hamas was persistent that their civilians stay, so this is war.”
We asked Even what she thinks people in the United States should be doing, because for many of us, including Even, it can be hard to not feel helpless.
She said educating ourselves and staying up to date with the news goes a long way, but there are also many ways to give right now, which she encourages people to do if they are able.