Gaza fighting hits home in St. Louis area

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - A Webster Groves woman says watching the conflict play out in Gaza reminds her of her time as a volunteer nurse in the Gulf War.

Elsie Shemin-Roth got to Tel Aviv on the second day of the First Gulf War. She says for everyone in the city during that time, every minute felt like it could be the last.

As she looks on now, she says the fighting today is the same script, different decade.

"The closest we got was two blocks from where we lived," Shemin-Roth says. "The houses were demolished."

She chose to stay in downtown Tel Aviv as a volunteer nurse. She tells us they always worried about chemical warfare, so they kept gas masks handy. Most of her patients were elderly Holocaust survivors.

"My job was when the scuds hit to get them out. They said no they wouldn't go. They said if they were going to die, there would be no gas masks."

She says she's put herself in the shoes of the people who are in survival mode in Tel Aviv right now, where every step could be their last.

"Everything is on autopilot because the minute you leave the house to go to work on the bus, the bus could blow up. Anything could happen. That's how Israelis survives. They survive by putting their heads down and doing what they need to do."

Today, Shemin-Roth says the fighting is more sophisticated. And it's as intense as ever.

"The whole country is suffering. This is all they've known since the beginning. And it's been one war after another."

Still, she believes there can be peace in Israel. And she believes it will happen in her lifetime.


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