People trying to get to and from Israel are finding themselves caught in a nightmare as canceled flights have left travelers in limbo.
Shayna Michael, an Israeli woman stuck here in Milwaukee, is now forced to watch her siblings fight on the front lines of a war without her.
“I want to be back with my family, obviously, with my people,” Michael said.
What was meant to be a quick trip to see family in southeastern Wisconsin turned into an indefinite stay. She says she has no idea how long she will be forced to stay in the United States as most commercial flights to Israel are canceled.
While thousands of miles away, Michael says she is hearing the worst from loved ones back home.
“I just got off the phone of a Zoom funeral of a good friend of mine from Israel who was killed in action trying to defend his country,” she shared.
She is one of five siblings, all four of whom are fighting on the front lines.
“I'm a little emotional as you can tell. I don’t know what's up with them. We just keep checking in, but everything is, it’s a big mess right now.”
She says the worst part is the uncertainty of which friends and loved ones have been impacted, saying she doesn’t know which of her friends are alive or killed in battle.
Support from the local Chabad in Milwaukee has offered her comfort as she tries to fundraise and help people at home from afar.
Many of those funds are going toward private chartered flights that can carry Israelis and Jews back to Israel. She says that is how her brother returned to help.
“He managed to get back by going to New York and getting on a chartered flight that a bunch of Israelis and Jews all over the world are fundraising to organize,” said Michael.
“I hope that whatever needs to be done is done to ensure the safety of Israel for Arabs and Jews and anyone else living in the country.”
Americans in Israel trying to return to the States are also at a standstill.
Scott Forester traveled from Madison to be with his daughter in Israel when the war began. He initially booked flights to Budapest on Thursday which were canceled.
He said he's been in contact with local representatives and the U.S. Embassy for help securing another flight.
He spent four hours searching on Wednesday before booking another plane out of Israel Thursday night, that he hopes will actually take off.