On the morning of Saturday, October 7, as the world was learning about Hamas’ stunning attack on Israel, Madras native Miriam Fisher huddled in a bomb shelter with her neighbors.
“We know that in Tel Aviv, you have about 90 seconds to reach a shelter,” she said. “We’re lucky to have a shelter in the basement of our building.”
She left Central Oregon for Israel nearly a decade ago. She and her partner, Tamir Hayun, now live in Jaffa, a suburb of Tel Aviv. They sat in the bomb shelter that morning, watching videos of their country and neighbors caught in the ambush.
“The terrorists themselves were uploading them to Telegram and to TikTok,” she said. “So, people were seeing uncensored, firsthand, graphic videos before they were even on the news.”
In the days since, Fisher and Hayun’s daily routines have been flipped upside down, and their community put on lockdown.
“I’ve been pretty much at home,” she said. “Anytime you do leave the house, your kind of mentally thinking about, ‘OK, if there’s a siren right now and there’s rockets right now, where am I going to? Where can I take shelter?’”
Added to the mix, Fisher is pregnant and says she and Hayun have thought about leaving the country.
“My parents definitely would prefer if I left,” she said. “We don’t feel unsafe enough to take that step.”
“I trust my country and the allies,” Hayun said. “I actually feel secure right now.”
The couple is living this war every day, but Fisher says the way the war is playing out over social media is equally troubling.
“What makes me sad sometimes is that people see this as like a competition and you have to pick a side and you’re either with Palestine or with Israel,” she said. “I think that you can be sympathetic and stand for Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as have sympathy for Israelis and this very traumatic terror attack.”
She wishes everyone could view the conflict through more sympathetic eyes. Both innocent Israeli’s and Palestinians are dying in a war that neither wanted.
“The average Israeli doesn’t like the idea of bombing civilians, but also the average Israeli is still some people are still looking for loved ones…they’re mourning dead the dead and friends and family,” she said.
Fisher told Central Oregon Daily that moments after the interview for this story finished, another rocket siren forced her and Tayun back into the bomb shelter.
“In a war there is only losers, there isn’t winners,” Hayun said.