Shocked and distraught Israeli citizens are coming together to volunteer and support the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the war against Hamas that began on Saturday.
Veronika Solovjanova, a business owner in Tel Aviv, told Fox News Digital that she knows Israelis who were abroad on vacation and came back to their country to help the war effort. The war began early Saturday morning when Hamas attacked Israel on Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday.
‘It’s very important to understand that all of us go together and we want to support [Israel] and be together,’ she said. ‘It’s important for us to protect our freedom.’
‘We don’t want to leave or escape,’ Solovjanova explained, adding that many volunteers are driving to the frontlines of the war to help soldiers.
Solovjanova shared videos of crowds of people making packages for IDF soldiers and queuing for blood drives. When asked if anything like Hamas’ attacks has ever happened to Israel in her lifetime, she gave an emphatic ‘no.’
‘It’s like we call it now, ‘our 9/11′,’ she said. ‘I saw the owner of my [store’s] building today…she’s 81 years old. I asked her, ‘Do remember something like this?’ and she said no.’
Solovjanova spent Sunday helping prepare care packages for IDF soldiers. She compared Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel to acts of violence in Ukraine.
‘Yesterday, I was crying … I’m a very strong person. But yesterday it was really so [devastating],’ she said. ‘Today I woke up and I said to myself that I just need to help.’
‘It’s like the invasion of Ukraine,’ she added. ‘What happened yesterday in this kibbutz music festival, you absolutely can compare it with the butchery in Ukraine. It’s [an] absolute massacre.’
Weeks after Israelis made international headlines about protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms, Solovjanova says that – even as a protestor – everyone in Israel is coming together to form a united front.
‘We just need to survive and to protect our country,’ she explained. ‘I used to live in many countries and I would say that just here in Israel, once something is happening here, all of us forget about left and right.’
The Tel Aviv resident explained that Israelis come together in crisis, and that their culture helps them cope with tragedies.
‘Always in sad moments here in Israel, we know how to find positive,’ she said. ‘We’re always singing. We’re always smiling. We make jokes.’
‘That’s a very special feeling about our people,’ she added. ‘All of us together and it’s an amazing feeling, [even though] it’s a very hard time.’