AUSTIN (KXAN) — Right now, Dori Roberts’ phone is his lifeline as he clings to any new word of the whereabouts of his family members in Israel.
“You’re hopeless, you’re helpless there’s nothing you can do, there’s not a button you can push,” he said. His aunts and cousins leave near the Gaza strip. They’re the ones he’s barely heard from since Hamas militants launched a surprise attack Saturday.
Roberts said other family in Israel – who live further from Gaza – told him the militants took his aunt’s partner first, while his aunt and cousins sheltered in place.
“The next thing we know, the militants come back and pick up the girls. My aunt, my cousin in the two little girls,” he said.
Moments before Roberts sat down to speak with us, he got a call from his brother in Israel with an update on his aunt’s partner.
“He was seen alive by a reporter in Gaza Strip. We have a picture that was on some media outlet,” he said.
But he didn’t know if could believe it – or without context, if he even wanted to.
“You’re just looking for any kind of clues, rumors,” he said. “And then you just see the horrible, horrible, horrific news coming through every screen and every medium.”
Roberts said he currently feels safe in the U.S., and encourages anyone who doesn’t to seek solace with each other.
“You are not alone, we’re a strong community in Israel and abroad. We have each other, reach out to your community leaders, show your support,” he said. “This is not about us dealing with another nation. This is about a terror group, Hamas, barbaric people who went and hurt people, kids, citizens, mothers, women. This is not the Palestinian people. This is a terror group that’s hiding behind its own citizens right now.”