The two US lawmakers who were in Israel when Hamas launched its surprise attacks were able to safely return to the United States on Sunday, NPR reported.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and New York Rep. Dan Goldman traveled separately to Israel and were in separate cities at the time of Saturday’s attacks.
According to their offices, both Booker and Goldman sheltered in place in their respective hotels and were able to catch flights to the US on Sunday.
Goldman was in Tel Aviv with his family to attend a bar mitzvah. He told NBC’s “Today” that they were asleep in their hotel when sirens woke them around 6:30 a.m. He and his family sought shelter in a stairwell, something they had to do several times again throughout the day as rockets rained down.
Booker meanwhile arrived in Israel last Friday to attend meetings and do sightseeing before an N7 economic summit in Tel Aviv where he was scheduled to speak on Tuesday. At the time of the attacks, Booker was in Jerusalem.
In a video posted on social media, Booker said he was jogging in the Old City when he received a message from his staff telling him to return to the hotel. He said when he arrived, he joined the other “frightened faces” who were taking shelter in a stairwell.
Booker described the experience of sheltering with other Americans, including families with children and the elderly, saying they shared a “sense of fear and worry,” knowing that “horrific things” were happening in Israel.
Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the experience made him more committed to working with his Senate colleagues to support Israel, ensure stability, and achieve a “long-term and just peace.”
A spokesperson for Booker’s office confirmed that he safely departed Israel on Sunday.