San Diego man who lived through rocket attacks puts Israel's proximity to Gaza in perspective
Yaron Lief grew up in Israel, owns local business
Last Updated: 210 days ago
SAN DIEGO - A local man who has experienced violence in the Middle East talks to 10News about the heartbreaking and terrifying ordeal in his homeland.
The sound alone is enough to tell Yaron Lief what kind of rocket it is.
"Based on the whistle that it makes when it flies, those kids over there know exactly which city is being targeted based on the sound," Lief told 10News.
As a child growing up in Israel, Lief lived through rocket attacks similar to those currently hammering parts of the Middle East.
"What I really remember is my parents waking me up and rushing us into shelters," Lief recalled. "It's shells that fall from the sky; it's frightening."
Lief has lived in the U.S. for 12 years and now runs a business in San Diego. He said his family, including his parents and sisters, are in cities targeted by the latest rocket attacks.
"This weekend, my nephew had a bar mitzvah in Jerusalem and that's when they were trying to shell Jerusalem," said Lief.
It's hard for many Americans to understand that civilians in Israel live every day knowing what can happen and that those who want to hurt them are less than an hour away.
"What would happen here and how shaken we would be," Lief said.
Within about a 50-mile radius are Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, both being shelled hard by rocket attacks. On a map, imagine downtown San Diego being Gaza. It would be like rockets from there hitting Vista and Julian.
"You are inside the place that is trying to kill you," Lief said when describing what it feels like because the two areas are so close.
When asked if he feels sympathy for both sides he said, "A hundred percent."
Lief said Israel is not targeting civilians, but in the end, innocent people are being hit on both sides.
"Kids should not be exposed to this," he said, "You remember this for the rest of your life."
Lief said he talks to family members twice a day and can keep track of what's happening in key parts of Israel using an app.
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