SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Israel-Hamas War has shocked the entire world by the sheer amount of death and violence, and for many Israelis, this is do or die.
“So, on one hand, it was very shocking, but on the other, a kind of wake-up call that the society needed to be all together in very unfortunate circumstances,” said Gilad Jalon, a reporter in Tel Aviv.
“And show them that you can’t scare us, but we’re not going anywhere.”
Married three months ago, Ashley and Gilad Jalon were enjoying their honeymoon when sirens sounded.
A normal occurrence for many Israelis turned to terror when they learned the terrorist group Hamas had attacked. It was the first surprise attack on the country in 50 years.
Gilad Jalon’s colleague and his wife were among the thousands killed on Oct. 7. While their children survived by hiding in a closet, their 3-year-old is one of the hundreds kidnapped.
In a time of political unrest in Israel, the Hamas attack brought Israelis together across the political spectrum.
“Everybody joined in, and if someone didn’t join the army, they went to see what they could do for the soldiers if you can cook something,” said Jalon.
He notes that there was a boom in volunteering and donating, and while they have the protection of the iron dome, the population doesn’t stay out for long.
The world view of the conflict in Gaza is protesting against the bomb strikes, with thousands of protests around the world calling for a ceasefire.
“Hamas is not the same as all the Palestinians. The people of Palestine are the people of Palestine,” said Ashley Jalon. “They are terrorizing the people of Gaza just as they are terrorizing the people of Israel.”
This follows reports of Hamas using civilians as human shields to avoid attacks from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The Jalons are disappointed by the global response and the negative view of the IDF, as they claim misinformation from Hamas and mass media inflate causality numbers.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which reports casualty numbers, is controlled by Hamas.
“I think we need to take everything that we hear with a grain of salt, especially when it comes directly from Hamas,” said Ashley Jalon.
“And just think a little bit critically about who’s saying what and, who has done what.”
While the Jalons were both surprised and horrified by the events of the Oct. 7 attack, Ashley didn’t feel safe anymore in Tel Aviv and returned to her home in Canada.
“When she actually flew, I didn’t know when I was gonna see her again, and, even now that I’m here is temporary,” said Gilad Jalon.
As a journalist covering the efforts of the Israeli people and the war, Gilad Jalon has to return to Tel Aviv for work.
“I’m gonna go back home, maybe gonna have sort of a plan, but I don’t know what, what’s gonna be the next time I’m gonna see her, cause Montreal and Tel Aviv are not around the corner,” said Gilad Jalon.
The couple will be separated once again as they hope for an end to the war and a cease to the loss of innocent Palestinian life.
“A very hard situation, because we literally call it the honeymoon stage,” said Gilad Jalon.
“As long as I’m there, I will try to do my personal donation as a journalist and do what I can.”