Many Americans stuck in Israel were on their way home Friday as the U.S. government tries to get them out of the region.
Manny Yekutiel is the owner of Manny’s in San Francisco, and the café owner is heading home soon on a commercial flight from Israel.
He was visiting family in the region when the Hamas terrorist attacks took place.
Yekutiel’s family will not leave Israel, making his decision to leave that much more difficult.
“It was becoming clear that leaving was going to be increasingly difficult and I feel guilty, I feel like I’ve abandoned my family,” he said.
The U.S. government announced Friday efforts to get many Americans home with the help of charter flights.
A state department spokesperson tweeted out that the first charter flight carrying U.S. citizens and their family members from Israel was wheels down in Athens.
NBC Bay Area photojournalist Edwin Alvarado is one of those Americans trying to get home.
He did not get a ticket on a U.S. flight after submitting an application. The Colombian government offered him a spot on a flight Friday, and he was able to leave Israel.
“Feel safe, feel a little disappointed in the U.S. embassy, feel sad for the people who have to stay here in this country facing this war,” he said. “And hope they will be safe really soon.”
And as Yekutie prepares to return home to San Francisco, he’s disappointed the terrorist attack is being politicized and hopes for more productive discussions surrounding what’s taking place in Israel.
“Instead of texting or posting about what we have to say … listening to each other.” said Yekutie.
More Americans will be heading home in the coming days. Delta, American and United Airlines are working with the state department to add larger planes to Athens, Frankfort and other cities in Europe to accommodate the increase in passengers.
Source: NBC Bay Area