Rochester man vacationing in Israel during Hamas attacks arrives safely in Dubai

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UPDATE: Marc Cohen, a Rochester man who was on vacation in Israel when Hamas launched its surprise attack, said on Twitter that he and his family have safely left Israel. They landed in Dubai and will return to the United States next.

“Please continue to pray for Israel, her people, and those seeking safety from these acts of terrorism,” Cohen wrote on Twitter.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When Hamas launched its surprise attack from the Gaza Strip on Saturday that killed at least 700 people in Israel, Marc Cohen of Rochester was in Tel Aviv on vacation.

It’s his fourth time to Israel, but the first time he has taken his wife, who is 28 weeks pregnant, and family members as part of a two-week trip to explore the country.

The tenor of the trip quickly changed when Hamas started bombing Israel early Saturday.

When the bombing began, he says he and his family took shelter in the stairway of the hotel. He is grateful for the for the work Dragon and other elected officials have been doing to make sure he and his family find a way out of the country safely.

“It’s what people endure every day,” he said.

He and his family are working with different agencies and organizations to stay safe and find a way home.

The attacks on Israel have shaken the local Jewish community.

Meredith Dragon, who is with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, says it’s important for all Americans to remain steadfast in their resolve in support of the Jewish community and do everything they can to help people in Israel.

“Right now, this is not a time for division. It’s a time for us to stand together and say we support Israel unequivocally,” she said. “The coming days, weeks – months, potentially – are going to be really difficult ones. Israel is at war and they are probably about to launch an offensive like we have never seen.”

Rockets are fired toward Israel from Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)