HONOLULU (KHON2) — A Hawaii boy who was studying in Israel has safely returned to Oahu one week after Hamas launched its attack on the Jewish state.
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Another local family is still hoping to get their auntie out of Gaza.
Maryknoll student Alexander Krupitsky was just north of Jerusalem — about 60 miles from the Gaza Strip — but was still jarred awake on Saturday, Sept. 7.
“I was woken up by the, the sirens alerting that there was like a bomb that’s been dropped,” Alexander said.
Alexander’s dad showed KHON2 pictures from his sons trip, which was supposed to be a semester-long program to explore Israel’s culture and heritage. He heard that Hamas attacked and immediately got in touch with his son.
“I’m like, ‘Are you in safe place?’ He said he’s in the bomb shelter, I’m relieved. They don’t have that many rockets, so eventually they’re going to run out of rockets and he can go to a normal life, right? But that wasn’t to be,” Dmitri Krupitsky said.
The program was called off, Alexander said he heard explosions and saw smoke trails from Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Dmitri said the devastation is unprecedented.
“It’s like 9/11 for Israel. It’s, nobody predicted something like this would happen, right,” Dmitri said. “I really hope things will be solved. We want just peace. We just want peace.”
Dmitri is not the only one calling for peace. Humanitarian aid worker Ramona Okumura is still trapped in Gaza. Okumura is a prosthetic clinician who makes arms and legs for amputee children who are not permitted to receive care in Israel.
“That’s the only reason she’s there,” said Erika Okumura, Ramona’s niece. “And she’s not the type of person to like, just wander recklessly about. It’s really she’s there because she knows that she can help and she can train them how to make prosthetics for children.”
Okumura’s family is urging senators and the community to call for a ceasefire and to establish a humanitarian corridor to get aid workers out while surgeons and first responders get in.
“She teaches,” Erika said, “and her impact can be long lasting and we need her here with us, so what I’m really saying is bring auntie Ramona home.”
Donations to a GoFundMe for Ramona’s evacuation more than doubled since Friday, Oct. 13 after KHON2 broadcasted her story, click here for more information.