Mass native who recently moved to Israel plans to stay

WALTHAM, Mass. — A Massachusetts native who graduated from Bentley University in May and moved to Israel less than a month ago is describing the uncertainty there.

Shira Vilvovsky was born in Israel and moved to the U.S. when she was four.

She spent most of her life in Massachusetts and attended Belmont High School.

She’s now living in Tel Aviv and staying in regular communication with her parents and relatives in the Boston area after Saturday’s unprecedented surprise attack.

An Israel music festival was among the locations hit by the most sustained and coordinated assault inside Israel ever carried out by Hamas militants.

The death toll in Israel now sits at more than 700.

Thousands of people are injured and dozens of hostage victims have been ripped from their homes.

“It’s hard to shake feeling like I’m scared,” said Vilvovsky. “But we’re under the feeling that I shouldn’t go back to America. We shouldn’t let terrorists win.”

Vilvovsky describes the current situation in Tel Aviv as relatively calm compared to communities south, closer to the Gaza border.

She told Boston 25 News that grandparents live about 30 minutes away from there and have been going back and forth to a bomb shelter on their property.

“These sirens are probably happening every hour, every 20 minutes. At some point, how often are you going to go back and forth?,” she questioned. “It’s horrifying.”

The casualties of the on-going violence include the daughter and son-in-law of Brandeis professor Ilan Troen.

Northeastern University confirms that three of its students are in Israel on co-op but are safe.

A Northeastern spokesperson told Boston 25 News that the school’s global security operation is helping those students evacuate the country.

“If you could compare it to a small Massachusetts town, it’s as if the whole town has been massacred,” Meron Reuben, Consul General of Israel to New England.

Reuben, who’s located in Boston, has been helping Israel passport holders in New England who have already been requested to return for reserve duty.

“Some people have already flown to Israel, those people who are Israeli citizens and have been called to the reserves,” he explained. “I would say worse than our worse nightmares.”

A multi-faith solidarity gathering will be happening Monday at noon at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common.

Governor Maura Healey and other elected officials are expected to speak.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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