HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — You often feel closer to atrocities when they happen to your own people or those who share your race, your ethnicity, or your religion.
So with what’s going on in Israel, there is no surprise that Midstate Jewish people seem particularly impacted.
That’s especially true for one woman.
Dganit Shefet realized little by little Saturday how bad things were. Unlike most people, she grew up at a kibbutz, a collective living and working community, near Gaza and near the ones Hamas attacked.
“It’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s it’s a bit of a desert, but it’s full of agricultural, full of fields and citrus fruits and citrus and orchards. People like to work the land. It’s beautiful. Lots of vegetable growing and flower growing,” she said.
Shefet moved to Harrisburg in 1980, but sure enough, she got the news.
Hamas had killed two of her lifelong friends and taken another one hostage.
Shefet’s sister still lives in the community where they grew up, so Shefet travels there a lot.
She was there very recently and saw her old friend, who is now a hostage.
“I did see him in July. Even though he doesn’t live on the kibbutz, I was in Israel in July for three weeks. I happened to see him and talk to him for a few seconds. It’s beyond belief. It’s hard to imagine,” she said.
Shefet said he is an extraordinarily kind man. She’s trying not to even let herself think about what kind of condition he’s in if he’s still alive.
“I grew up there, so I know, as far as hostages possibly what they’re facing. Possibly. And I can’t go there. In my thoughts I can’t go there,” she said.
Of the couple who was killed, the man was her father’s best friend. He helped arrange everything for her father’s funeral when he died recently.
Now he, like so many others, is being buried after the attack.