“Run as fast as you can” Local teen recounts being in Israel during attack
LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington teenager was one of countless Americans who were inside Israel when Hamas attacked.
Danit Schachman, 17, had been in Israel for weeks as part of a boarding school-type program. She was near Jerusalem when the sirens started blaring.
“Our counselor was knocking on our door, screaming to run as fast as we can to the bomb shelter,” Schachman said.
It was the beginning of Hamas’s attack on Israel.
“It was scary because we were all confused,” she said. “We were all squeezing each others hands.”
The sirens blared eight times that day. She believes she spent about 3 hours in the shelter that day.
At times, she wondered if she would survive.
Her mother, Laura Schachman, picked up her daughter’s call in the middle of the night. Danit was crying, she said.
“I woke my husband up and we were just terrified of what was happening,” Laura said. “All we could do is pray, and hope, and stay positive.”
Danit said she was thinking about how hard it had to be on his parents, who could not do anything to physically help her.
No rocket ever impacted Jerusalem, thanks to the Iron Dome, and Danit was safe. However, it soon became clear that for the safety of everyone in her program, they had to leave the country.
It was also necessary because so many of their staff were being called up to serve in the army.
She worries about those counselors but says she’s proud of what they are doing for their country. Danit, who is Jewish, said she now considers Israel a second home.
After a few sleepless nights due to rockets, they all got on a charter flight home. She’d only been in Israel for seven weeks.
“I did feel guilty leaving because a lot of people there my age and like me they don’t have another home to go to but I’m lucky I’m here and I’m safe but I wish there was more I could do,” Danit said.
When she got home to her family at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport, Laura said she started to cry even before she was able to hug her daughter.
“I couldn’t wait to touch her and hold her,” Laura said.
Finally, they “melted” in each other’s arms, Danit said.
“I said [to her] I thought I’d never see you again because that’s how I felt in the bomb shelter,” Danit said
Now, Laura says she can’t hug her daughter enough.
Those hugs have come from Lexington’s entire Jewish community, Danit said.
Danit said she is healing after the experience, saying each day gets better.
She’ll start back at a school in Lexington next week and hopes to get back to Lexington once things are more peaceful. She’s been sharing her story as much as she can, hoping it can also help in her healing process.