ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Dozens of US citizens, families at Haifa port awaiting evacuation by boat

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

US citizens wait to be evacuated from the port of Haifa to Cyprus, on October 16, 2023. -(Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP)
US citizens wait to be evacuated from the port of Haifa to Cyprus, on October 16, 2023. -(Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP)

Several dozen United States citizens and their spouses wait to board an evacuation ship at the port of Haifa.

The queue this morning follows a security alert issued Sunday by the US Embassy in Jerusalem for citizens seeking to leave the country. Due to flight cancelations in connection with the fighting between Israel and Hamas, US citizens and their first-degree relatives were invited to come to Haifa Port and board a vessel bound for Cyprus, where they would board flights to the United States.

“I have mixed feelings about leaving,” says Ariella Keshet, a therapist from the town of Katzrin in the Golan Heights.

“I think it would be wise to get out of the way if there’s fighting,” adds Keshet, who is traveling with four children and her husband.

One of her stepdaughters works as a waitress in Tel Aviv and lives in a building with no shelter. “There’s a range of reasons for leaving: Some practical, others safety-related,” she says.

Ariella Keshet (l) and one of her daughters, Emunah, wait to be evacuated from the port of Haifa to Cyprus, on October 16, 2023. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

Saleh Jabarin, an 84-year-old Arab Israeli man who lives in Ohio, has family events planned for November in the US, he says.

“I’m not scared, I don’t think Hezbollah will fire rockets on Haifa this time. But this is an opportunity to leave before they cancel all flights and it’s impossible.”

Multiple airlines have canceled flights to and from Israel following the deadly incursion by Hamas on October 7, which triggered a massive Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.

El Al, however, is still flying, as is the Greece-based Bluebird Airways.

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