TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Ahead of President Joe Biden’s address to the nation Thursday from the Oval Office, News Channel 8 spoke with Israeli’s top diplomat in Florida and an American evacuee who is grateful to be back home in Florida.
“We’re diehard Israel fans,” Allison Zur said.
Zur’s family from Broward County was visiting her husband’s family in Israel when Hamas carried out its attack on Oct. 7.
“We woke up to the horrors,” she said. “That’s the worst alarm clock you can imagine is being woken by sirens of somebody literally trying to attack you.”
While struggling to find an earlier flight out of the warzone, she said she learned about Project Dynamo from a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“And I clicked on a link and filled out this form and within, I would say minutes, I heard back from someone,” Zur said.
DeSantis and his wife Casey greeted Zur, her husband and their two young children Sunday night at Tampa International Airport when they arrived on an evacuation flight with 270 Americans, paid for by the State of Florida.
“I was really excited because he’s running for president,” Zur said. “He’s the governor. I couldn’t believe he was just standing there. Just right when you get off you see him. I thanked him.”
While American evacuees fly back to the Sunshine State, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has sent cargo planes with donated medical supplies, clothing, hygiene products and toys to Israel.
“We’re in the first inning of t his whole fight for our safety, security, sovereignty, you name it,” said Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, the consul general of Israel in Miami.
Elbaz-Starinsky said Florida’s relationship with the Jewish state could not be stronger.
“The community over here is fully engaged and I can only salute it,” he aid.
Elbaz-Starinsky said he is overwhelmed by the response of President Biden, including his visit Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers to the region.
“The U.S. projects its power,” he said. “It needs to project its power. It is the United States of America. We need the support and mainly what we need is the time to eradicate Hamas.”
Zur told News Channel 8 she plans to donate to Project Dynamo and she encourages others to support their mission of rescuing Americans abroad.