MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - As U.S. residents attempt to flee Israel, away from the war zone, one South Florida woman is helping get people to safety.
Twenty-eight-year-old Nicole was able to organize an emergency chartered flight out of the war-torn region for 155 passengers.
Among them was Ori David Meyer, who said he found himself running out of options after war broke out this past weekend.
“I don’t have the money to pay like $3,000 or $1,000 now to fly back – I suppose not to pay the flights, because they’re booked,” he said.
Meyer was born and raised in Israel, but he’s called Miami home for the past six years.
“I went to to Tel Aviv to visit my family after three years that I didn’t see them,” he said.
While he was there, bombs started raining down just streets away from his family home.
“Here was a missile that fell in the middle of Tel Aviv,” he said in a cellphone video showing the damage.
It’s bittersweet to want to leave his family, but finally Meyer found a way to get home.
“I met Nicole, and she’s doing amazing work to help me to go back home,” he said.
Meyer and 154 other passengers are hopping on a chartered Israir Airlines flight on Friday morning that will take them to Cyprus, an island near Greece.
Speaking with 7News on Thursday, Nicole said she knew in her heart she had to help some way, somehow. She said she found a New York-based travel agent who helped her charter the plane.
“I mean, we quickly filled that flight up; it was crazy. Like, we were a bit nervous that, you know, we spent all this money on an aircraft, and it wouldn’t get filled, but like, it was filled within a few hours,” she said.
The flight filled up first come, first served, but for some people with whom Nicole came into contact, finding the plane wasn’t the issue.
Rotem Fatal is trying to get back to her husband in Miami, who left Israel just two weeks ago.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said.
Six months ago, Fatal flew over to Israel, her home country, to give birth to her now 3-month-old son.
She said the reason she can’t hop on Nicole’s flight is because her youngest child doesn’t have the American papers he needs.
“We just want, you know, to make sure everything is OK with the vaccine before we came in with him, and now it’s just – they will take more time,” she said.
It’s time that Fatal is afraid they don’t have. Every night, she joins her three children and her mother as they crowd into a bomb shelter to sleep.
But sleep is a lot harder with a piece of her family thousands of miles away, working to get that paperwork cleared up.
“I don’t have nobody to ask for help. I just have my husband,” she said.
The family said they’re afraid to leave the house with the fear of what might drop from the sky, but Fatal is praying that soon the papers will come for her son so she can hop on the next flight that Nicole organizes.
“I just know that I need to protect my kids here and wait for any help,” she said.
Nicole is working on organizing another flight to leave Sunday or Monday. She said she will open a new GoFundMe for that flight when she knows it’s available.
For those who know someone who might want to donate, volunteer or get on a plane out of Israel, send an email to AmericanswithIsrael@gmail.com.
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