CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte woman is safely back home after watching the conflict in the Middle East up close.

"For me, I was happy to go, eager to go and share my support for our Israeli friends," said Sue Worrel, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte.

Worrel planned the vacation months ago, but didn't think twice about cancelling amid to the recent conflict.

"The fact is we have friends and loved ones who live in that country and they're there. And if they're there and can live through this, I'll be there with them."

While in Tel Aviv, Worrel took cover during two missile sirens. Israel's missile defense system detects incoming missiles and alerts targeted towns.

"I was in a car by the side of the road, and jumped out the car, crouched by the side of the road, cover your head, and wait for the siren blast to past, and it did."

Charlotte's estimated 5,000 Palestiain-Americans are far more closely watching the situation in Gaza.

"We are saddened that the world does not see us, does not view us as humans. That it is okay for us to die," said Khalid Hijazi.

Almost 700 Palestinians have died. The United Nations estimates 70 percent of them are civilians. So far, 35 Israelis have died.

"We cannot call it a war, because it is so disproportionate," Hijazi said.

Worrel disagrees, as she's lived through the missile sirens coming from Gaza. She says Israel's toll would be much higher if it wasn't for the missile defense system.

"While the outcomes in Gaza are deeply disturbing and troubling to all of us, Israeli citizens have every right to expect their government to take care of them."

The Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte will host a Community Rally for Israel Sunday at 2 p.m. at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.

Read or Share this story: