Hawaii Residents Are Caught In Middle East Conflict

Cliff Halevi
Cliff Halevi
Sarah Ahmadia
Sarah Ahmadia

(KHNL)  Among the U.S. citizens who find themselves in a war zone are two people who call Hawaii home.

And Monday night, there are two local families filled with fear and concern.

For soon to be Punahou junior Rachel Halevi, it was supposed to be a summer of learning in the Middle East.

"The original plan was to see every corner of Israel," said her father Cliff Halevi.

Instead Rachel is learning about more than just middle east conflicts of the past, but also the present.

"She saw the nazi concentration camps - then to see terrorists driven by the same ideology pretty sobering," said Halevi.

As the attacks continue, Rachel's family worries about the warfare escalating and have been in constant contact with her, planning what they will do in the coming days and weeks.

"She'll call, we'll call - that's pretty comforting," her father said.

Across the border, a cellphone has become a lifeline for Big Island teacher Sarah Ahmadia trapped in Lebanon.

"This line to my friends and family - its kept me sane - in the middle of all of this," said Ahmadia by phone from Lebanon.

And she has been in the middle of a lot.

"We actually went thru a bombing that was 500 yards from the house. "the planes we hear them all the time - bombs going off," she said.

Since the conflict started her days have been filled with fear and uncertainty. A far cry from her happier times in Hawaii.

"You never know when a missile is going to miss," said Ahmadia. "You're trying to figure out when the bomb hits how can you cover the child when the house collapses waiting for your life to possibly end and I'm glad people in Hawaii don't know what it feels like and I wish I didn't."

Sarah plans to evacuate as soon as she is able to, but to leave Lebanon she has to go through Beirut, which has been one of the targeted sites of Israeli attacks.