Americans are sending supplies to Israel. Some with dual citizenship are doing more
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
We are co-hosting this program from different locations in the Middle East this week. On Monday, we were in Tel Aviv in Israel. Today we're in Ramallah on the West Bank. In each case, we're covering this region's war. Many Americans want to help Israel against Hamas. And in a moment, we'll meet a U.S. citizen who volunteered to fight. We begin with dual citizens who are sending money, medical supplies and even tactical gear. Here's NPR's Adam Bearne.
ADAM BEARNE, BYLINE: David Rosenberg won't soon forget watching the footage of the October 7 attack on his home country.
DAVID ROSENBERG: Hamas, they're evil. They've done things that no human should ever do to another. It touched me. I mean, I literally feel it within.
BEARNE: Rosenberg, who's a dual citizen of Israel and the U.S., owns a diamond company in Boca Raton, Fla. He says that within days, his business contacts in Israel were asking him to send help.
ROSENBERG: I received multiple phone calls from several individuals who were saying that they are in need of level III+ and level IV bulletproof vests.
BEARNE: Rosenberg tracked them down. He runs a side business in the arms industry. He says various business associates in Florida chipped in the money.
ROSENBERG: We purchased close to 5,000 vests right off the bat.
BEARNE: Rosenberg believes they're now being used by soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. We asked the IDF to verify that, but they declined to comment. Either way, Rosenberg believes the army needs more equipment.
ROSENBERG: I don't think that the IDF or the State of Israel was 100% ready for such an attack. Certainly, they were not prepared for a full deployment.
BEARNE: Steve Weil understands the urge to send help to Israel. He's the CEO of Friends of the IDF, the only official charitable partner of Israel's military in the U.S. Weil says the army isn't asking them for military supplies.
STEVEN WEIL: We're being asked by the army to raise funds for emergency medical equipment, for blood plasma, for funds for therapies for soldiers dealing with PTSD issues.
BEARNE: But the charity is providing armored ambulances for Israeli forces. Weil hopes the world understands what the IDF is up against.
WEIL: Literally in a 30-hour period, the army tripled in size. In my opinion, despite this huge, huge logistical challenge, they've done quite well.
BEARNE: Whether it's ballistic vests or bandages coming from America, that gear could end up on the front lines soon.
INSKEEP: That's NPR's Adam Bearne. Now, some dual nationals are doing more than donating supplies. They are heading to Israel to join the fight. Boaz (ph) is a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. He left his home in Boston on October 8, the day after the Hamas attack, to reenlist. He joins his four daughters, all of them currently serving in the IDF. One is named Adi (ph). Her role in the military is to sing.
ADI: (Singing in non-English language).
INSKEEP: We are not using Boaz or Adi's last names because the IDF does not allow it for their safety. Boaz and Adi spoke with our colleague Michel Martin.
ADI: To be honest, I thought my life was not even going to be necessarily centered around serving in the army or being in Israel. I started college, but after a year I just realized that I have to go back to Israel.
MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: So you were already there on October 7, correct?
ADI: Yes, I was already there.
MARTIN: So Boaz, here you are, four girls and you. You know, on the one hand, I can see where it's a comfort. On the other hand, I can see where it's frightening because now you have four people to worry about.
BOAZ: Yeah, that's true. I have more than four to be worried about. I have 9 million people in Israel to be worried about because we are under a constant threat. However, yes, being here feels so much better doing something for protecting the country and the nation, rather than just sitting at home and being sick, worried and do nothing.
MARTIN: And what was it like reenlisting at this stage of your life?
BOAZ: I was very determined that I'm rushing straight to the headquarters of the Israeli air force, where I belonged for so long, but it was, like, 13 years ago. And when I came in, the very young soldier at the reception looked at me and said, hey, Granda (ph), what are you doing here? We do not even have your photo in the system. You are so old.
BOAZ: And I laughed and said, OK, kid, please sign me up.
MARTIN: So Adi, what's it like for you? On the one hand, it's a relief having everybody there - on the other hand, a little nerve-wracking.
ADI: My service is to sing for people, whether that be people in hospitals or people who lived in the south of Israel who had to be evacuated or for soldiers to boost their morale. So in those moments, you feel hopeful, and you feel united. On the other hand, when you go home and you go to sleep, you can't help but replay everything that you've seen and everything that you've heard. So I'm lucky that my family is here with me. And there are many people who, unfortunately, their lives have been changed forever because of what's happened.
MARTIN: In the U.S., there's been a lot of focus on how much destruction Gaza is experiencing to this point because of the airstrikes, and I just wondered if you have thought about that.
BOAZ: We do have to remember that it all started with a massacre of 1,400 innocent babies, toddlers, teenagers and elders with 200-plus people kidnapped. Now, on the other side, there are civilians who are injured and killed. That's very unfortunate. However, the day the Israelis will put down their weapon, there will be no more Israel. And we live accordingly. And we hope, we pray for peace, but we prepare for the worst. And hopefully, this time in Gaza, we'll be able to make once and for all peace with this region.
MARTIN: What do you hope for? How do you hope this chapter will end?
BOAZ: My hope is that when this operation is over, there will be no more terrorism on the Gaza Strip. There are over 2 million people there that all they want is to wake up to their families in the morning, go to work, come back, play with their kids, go to their bed peacefully and quietly and repeat. And by the end of this operation, there will be no more terrorists in Gaza. Otherwise, all these lives that were lost are for nothing.
INSKEEP: Boaz and Adi, dual nationals serving in the Israeli military. We're hearing many views of this conflict, and you can find others at npr.org/mideastupdates. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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