Manhattan/Brooklyn Congress Member Dan Goldman was in Israel when Hamas militants began attacking the country Saturday, but he has safely returned to New York, one of his representatives said Sunday.
Goldman, a freshman Democrat, was in Israel with his wife and three children for a relative’s bar mitzvah, according to his spokesperson Simone Kanter. When the attacks began, Goldman, who is Jewish, and his family sheltered in place beneath their hotel’s stairwell, according to Kanter, before evacuating and getting on a plane back to New York.
“Congressman Goldman is grateful for the assistance of the State Department and Israeli authorities,” said Kanter. “He hopes all Americans can come together to support Israel’s right to defend herself from terrorism and war crimes.”
Also in Israel was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a fellow Democrat, who was in Tel Aviv for meetings and a regional economic summit. Booker also evacuated the country safely.
Hamas militants launched a surprise offensive into Israel from the blockaded Gaza Strip over the weekend, bulldozing the border wall and allowing hundreds of fighters to enter Israeli border towns and indiscriminately brutalize both Israeli soldiers and civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. Militants have also taken scores of Israelis back to Gaza as hostages.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared the violence an act of war and vowed to exact vengeance, which the Israeli military had already begun over the weekend with airstrikes on Gaza City.
Over 700 Israelis have been killed in the mayhem, a grim body count not seen within Israel in decades, while more than 400 Palestinians have been killed as the Israel Defense Forces seek retaliation, according to Reuters. Thousands more have been wounded.