LEXINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A Boston-area native who now lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv is going off to war as a member of Israel’s armed forces as fighting continues between Israeli forces and Hamas militants following this weekend’s surprise attack by Hamas.
Ben Mendales, 38, grew up in Lexington. His father recently spoke with 7NEWS about the situation.
“We’re out of our minds,” said Ben’s father, Sam. “He’s down there. The only consolation is he was promoted, I think, into a logistics job out of combat but I don’t know.”
Ben did three years of active duty in the Israeli army after becoming a citizen 19 years ago.
Now 5,500 away from his hometown in Lexington, Ben is a captain in the Israeli Army Reserves while working a day job as a business consultant with Ernst & Young.
“He said to me on his way down to his unit, ‘God, I’ve got a project I’ve got to get done by the 15th and I don’t know how am I going to do it,’” Sam Mendales said.
Ben now has a bigger project as Hamas rocket attacks continue in Israel.
The rockets have prompted people to duck and cover when the danger gets close. In their home, Sam said, Ben and his family have a safe room where they had to hide during one attack over the weekend.
Sam said he spoke with his oldest son over the weekend shortly before he reported for duty. Sam said Ben told him it was hard to leave his wife and children.
“It’s harder for her because she’s more isolated,” Sam said. “They can’t go to school. And he’s with his guys with his unit.”
Ben’s wife, Alexandria, is a native of Chicago. His two children are seven and four-years-old.
“The last time he was called up, he didn’t have kids,” Sam said. “Now he has a seven-year-old and a four-year-old and the seven-year-old cried. So, he said that was the hardest thing.”
“I’m another Israeli father even though I’m definitely an American,” Sam continued.
Ben holds dual US/Israeli citizenship. His father said their family welcomes prayers at this time.
Rocket fire from Hamas in the Gaza Strip lit up the night sky over the Israeli city of Ashkelon Tuesday night as the current conflict between Hamas and Israel stretched through another day.
Some explosions in the air marked reassuring hits by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which is tasked with intercepting rockets. Still, some rockets found their way past Israeli defenses and caused damage on the ground.
As Israel moved military vehicles in areas near its border with Gaza, officials said Israeli jets had found their targets, taking down buildings where Israel says Hamas hides weapons and leadership.
Israel’s military has activated 300,000 reservists in response to Hamas attacks. Now, the world is waiting to see if Israel will begin a ground assault in Gaza.
In the US, President Joe Biden spoke Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We must be crystal clear,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “We stand with Israel.”
Biden said at least 14 Americans are among the 1,000 or more people killed in Hamas attacks to date and said 20 or more Americans are among the missing, with most presumed killed or taken hostage by Hamas.
Among comments, Biden said the US is surging military assistance including ammunition and interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome.
The US is also moving assets into the region to discourage any other countries from getting involved in the current conflict.
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