The conflict with Hamas resulted in numerous Israeli citizens with dual citizenship choosing to depart from the nation. Below are accounts of individuals who chose to remain.

The conflict with Hamas resulted in numerous Israeli citizens with dual citizenship choosing to depart from the nation. Below are accounts of individuals who chose to remain.

During the past 10 years, despite her relocation from Bergenfield, New Jersey to Israel, Cindy Wiesel and her family have encountered numerous instances of violence. Despite acknowledging these as possibly the most chaotic times they have experienced, they have chosen to remain in their current location.

Wiesel, who is 52 years old and holds citizenship in both the United States and Israel, is currently residing in Efrat, a settlement located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. As a summer camp director, she considers Israel to be her home and sees no reason to leave. Additionally, her son and son-in-law are currently serving in the Israeli military.

Lookout points in the West Bank Israel

A steel Israeli flag stands at Matan Lookout, providing a view of the Samarian hills and the Israeli settlement of Itamar in the West Bank. Getty Images

2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers,
Israel launched a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip, targeting Hamas’ infrastructure and
weapons stockpiles

Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas in 2014, Israel initiated a large-scale military campaign in the Gaza Strip with the aim of destroying the terrorist organization’s infrastructure and weapons reserves.Oct. 7 terror attacks

After the alleged death of 1,400 individuals by Israel, the nation declared war and launched airstrikes on the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, while also planning for a potential ground invasion.

scrambled to leave Israel

However, there are some, like Wiesel, who have firmly planted their feet and are determined to remain in the nation.

The United States and various other countries have assisted their respective populations in…evacuate

Charter flights and cruise ships are transporting numerous individuals to safety. The U.S. State Department has issued a caution to Americans in the area, stating that there is a possibility of terrorist or violent extremist attacks without prior notice.

Residents of Gaza have not yet been given the opportunity to depart.

American citizens who were visiting at the time of the attacks are still trapped

The people in Gaza, who are under the control of Hamas, are suffering greatly and are eager to escape. According to health officials, over 7,000 individuals have lost their lives due to Israel’s airstrikes. The U.S. government reports that out of the 2.3 million individuals affected by the Israeli blockade of Gaza, around 600 are U.S. citizens.

24 hours

In the past 24 hours, there were at least 20,000 Americans in Israel and Gaza who reached out to the U.S. State Department.first week of the war, but officials have not said how many have actually left Israel. 

“We have been in this situation previously.”

Several individuals with dual citizenship residing in Israel have experienced the consequences of violence and strife since relocating to the nation.

In the month of April, the Wiesel family lost two British-Israeli sisters and their mother, who were close family friends, in a shooting incident in the West Bank. Despite the ongoing unrest, Wiesel has tried to maintain her usual schedule, although she admits that traveling within Israel has become a stressful and anxious process.

Wiesel had made arrangements to journey to Beit Shemesh to pay her respects to a family going through the seven-day shiva mourning period, which is a customary practice in Judaism. However, every time she scheduled her visit, there were rocket attacks. Despite this, she expressed that she generally felt secure.

“We hold unwavering trust in God that we will be protected and that Israel is our rightful home,” stated Wiesel.

Geoff Winston, a father of five, currently resides in Zichron Ya’akov, a town located approximately 25 minutes away from Haifa in northern Israel. He relocated from New Jersey to Israel in 1992.

In 2006, due to rocket assaults by Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based militant group backed by Iran, his family was forced to seek refuge in shelters for several weeks. Winston vividly recalls his 7-year-old son’s terror-stricken screams upon hearing the sirens.

Winston reported that his son, who is currently 24 years old, serves in military intelligence at the northern border. He also mentioned having two other children in the military, but stated that he would remain in Israel as it is his home.

He stated, “I have been in this place for the past 31 years and this is where I will pass away.”


On October 7, 2023, Geoff Winston and his family commemorated his wife’s 50th birthday, just one day before the Hamas attack occurred. Courtesy Geoff Winston

Aviva Goldberg, who is currently 54 years old and has four children, initially arrived in Israel as a teenager. She resided in the country during the Gulf War and experienced both the first and second Intifadas, which were Palestinian uprisings that occurred in the late 1980s and early 2000s. She expressed that she never considered leaving the country.

Goldberg returned to the United States following her marriage in order for her husband to complete his master’s degree. They resided in the U.S. for two decades before ultimately relocating back to Israel nine years ago.

Although she has experienced numerous conflicts in Israel, Goldberg stated that this current one is the most severe. However, she has never thought about leaving.

“What would be the outcome if all individuals with means of escape departed? Who would remain? Our nation would cease to exist,” expressed Goldberg. “In such a scenario, it would be understandable for other countries to point fingers and say, ‘They fled as soon as things got tough.'”

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approximately 79% of Israel’s Jewish population were born in the country by the end of 2021. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has seen over 3.3 million immigrants, with approximately 1.5 million arriving since 1990.

“We only belong here”

A large portion of Israel’s inhabitants are comprised of individuals who survived the Holocaust and their offspring – families who sought refuge in the country to escape anti-Semitic oppression and often lethal brutality. As of April’s publication by the government’s Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority, there were still 147,199 survivors residing in Israel.

Lilly Cantor, a 74-year-old woman whose parents survived the Holocaust, was raised in the United States and often heard her mother express her desire to visit Israel. After moving to Israel with her husband 11 years ago, Cantor felt that she was finally fulfilling her mother’s long-held dream.

Jerusalem, Israel

The Old City of Jerusalem, featuring the Dome of the Rock and a flag representing Israel. Getty Images/iStockphoto

She has one child and two grandchildren who reside in Israel, but she stated that she would choose to be there and remain there during the war even if they were not present.

Cantor strongly emphasized that this is the sole location where we feel a sense of belonging and safety.

Cantor’s sibling, residing in Florida, inquired about her return to the United States following the commencement of the conflict with Hamas.

Cantor stated, “My reply was, ‘This is my home. I do not possess another residence.'”

Four years ago, Cantor’s mother passed away. However, she is aware that her mother was pleased with her choice to relocate to Israel.

“I am aware that she would encourage you to persevere,” Cantor stated.

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