TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — University of South Florida graduate Jesse Davidson answered the call to serve on a moment’s notice.
“I wanted to do whatever I could,” he said. “Whatever I was capable of to help and for me that meant getting on a plane and getting here as soon as I possible could.”
Davidson flew from Tampa to Israel within 24 hours after the conflict began.
Now he’s fighting on the front lines for Israel Defense Forces’ counter terrorist operations.
“Right now, we are doing everything we can to ensure the return of the hostages, and that is our focus right now,” he said.
As students at his alma mater are taking a stand in their own way, lining the lawn outside of the Marshall Student Center Plaza with 240 chairs.
Each chair had a picture of a hostage being held in Gaza.
“It’s been 40 days and we don’t know what’s going on with them,” USF Chabad Rabbi Pinny Backman said. “We’re really praying and doing everything we can to bring them back home.”
Rabbi Backman hopes Thursday’s peaceful display sends a message.
“We want people to realize, we’re not talking about soldiers, we’re talking about civilians, children, women, men, elderly people, disabled people,” he explained, reffering to hostages Davidson is fighting to bring home.
“We’re in the middle of a war and war is a terrible thing,” Davidson explained. “As much as we talk about the peace and love and all of that, there are innocent people dying.”
“Of course people are scared, people are worried, people are hurting, but if there ever was a time to act it’s now,” he continued.