ATLANTA - Hundreds of members of the local Jewish community are expected to attend a rally in support of Israel. Several families are affected by the crisis in metro Atlanta.
Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh went to midtown Atlanta where she spoke with people who have recently returned from Israel, including one man who cut his trip short. Kavanaugh spoke to Jewish Americans who traveled to Israel for school, internships, work and vacation.
All of them said the same thing - While it was unsettling to be overseas during this crisis, it was very hard to leave it behind.
"In my heart, it really does kill to not be there standing side by side with Israeli Americans, anyone who is there in support of Israel," said Jake Ginsberg.
Ginsberg says he left Israel two weeks ago with mixed emotions. The Emory student was there on a summer internship, which he cut short when the conflict with Hamas militants escalated. He says he'll never forget the first time he heard sirens warning of incoming rockets.
“We were on a bus and heard the sirens, ran out into a local gas station and took shelter there," said Ginsberg.
Jaren Linowes returned from Israel Sunday. He was on a birthday trip with his grandparents that included six treks to bomb shelters, where he was side-by-side with Israeli children.
"I didn't really expect them to by crying because I thought they would be used to it by now, but really they understand what's going on and how sad this is," Linowes said.
Sad and nerve-wracking for his mother back in Sandy Springs, but she says she found peace knowing her son was fulfilling a childhood dream.
“I thought it was really an amazing opportunity for him to be there at a time when he could the pulse of the unity of the people," Linowes said.
Both Linowes and Ginseberg left Israel before some European and U.S. Airlines, including Delta temporarily halted all flights to Tel Aviv. They are home safe, but say their hearts are overseas.
“It’s devastating to me because it's not fair that a country that I love so much basically has to go through that every single day," Ginseberg said.
The Jewish Federation expects hundreds of people to attend tonight’s rally to show their support for Israel this evening.
A U.S. senator is now questioning the FAA’s decision to ban American flights into Israel.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz accuses the Obama administration of using a federal agency to impose an economic boycott on Israel. The state department called the comments ridiculous and offensive and said the decision was for the safety and security of U.S. citizens.