TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A University of South Florida graduate is in the middle of the conflict overseas to protect Israel.

“Military is very important in our family,” said Lea Merrill Davidson-Bern, Jesse Davidson’s mother.

Davidson is an Israel Defense Forces reservist and is now fighting on the frontlines of the Israel-Hamas War.

“He is exactly where he belongs now with people he belongs with doing what he can to make it better in the land that means so much to his soul,” Davidson-Bern said.

Davidson answered the call of duty on a moment’s notice, flying from Tampa to Israel within 24 hours after the conflict began.

His ties to the Tampa Bay area run deep. He grew up in Tampa and graduated from USF.

“He said when he graduated, he was going to go to the IDF to be a sniper, and that’s what he did,” his mother said.

However, Davidson-Bern is coping with the grim reality that her son is in the middle of a war zone.

“Our lives have been on pause,” she said. “He’s got a lot of strength. He’s got a lot of conviction. There are things worth dying for. This is a war against humanity.”