Bethany Students In Israel As Violence With Gaza Erupts

Friday, November 16th 2012, 7:24 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Some Bethany students are getting maybe a bit more of an international experience than they anticipated. They are in Israel this week as part of an exchange trip and right now, with violence erupting in the region.

Some students are on the same trip from New York, have decided to go home because of the violence. The Bethany principal says he has been surveying parents Friday, to see what they want to do. But most are staying, saying they are safe and don't want to miss any of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"So we woke up this morning and we went to the mall and we went shopping and I got these really cute shorts," Brennen Ivy told her mother Friday morning. 

It is the most typical of conversations between a daughter and her mom. Only Brennen Ivy is in Israel, skyping with her mom in Oklahoma City. Brennen and eight other kids from Bethany High School are on the trip as part of the American/Israel Friendship league.

They are staying with host families about 20 miles North of Tel Aviv.

"Yesterday on the news I just heard the word Israel, so I ran into the other room," recalls Vicki Ivy, Brennen's mother.

Not too far away violence between Hamas and Israel seems to be escalating.

"I texted her and said ‘Is anyone saying anything about the missiles?' and she was like ‘What are you talking about?'," said Vicki.

"We didn't even know anything was going on, until my mom told me about it," said Brennen.

Vicki says that, along with her daughter's constant assurances, give her comfort that the students are indeed safe. In addition the school's principal says the League is in constant contact with the US Embassy and will get the kids out of the country if they need to.

The students say some activities have had to be canceled because of the recent events. They should be back home on Wednesday.

Two families from Bethany did decide to bring their students back. 

The principal says that's mostly because their parents were concerned the airports would be closed and they wouldn't make it home in time for Thanksgiving.