Riots, air-raid alert sirens a part of life, recounts Huntsville student upon return from Israel

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The world waits as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas holds tight.

Like much of the world, Americans have watched the conflict unfold from afar, but one young Huntsville woman returned from Jerusalem just days ago with a first-hand look at this polarizing war.

It was a night in June when Skylar Green, a Huntsville High School graduate and Emory University Senior, first heard the sirens wail.

"I was with my group, we had actually been at a concert and were going to get ice cream," recounts Green. "We were almost to the ice cream shop and we all ran in and got down behind the counter."

Shaken, Green and the group considered going home, but it was the sight that met them outside the ice cream shop that left an impression.

"Everybody was back out eating and in the streets shopping like nothing at had happened."

Over her three month study-abroad trip with Jewish learning program MEOR and a subsequent internship with NGO Monitor, Green adopted the sense of normalcy.

"I asked my program director, I was like, 'are they not afraid? What is going on?' and she was like, 'That's just how it is. In Israel that is what we live with and you just deal with it," said Green.

Green says eventually she felt at ease in the safety of Jerusalem. Despite frequent missile alerts, sirens, and running into the beginnings of a riot on the street.

Despite the sense of security, Green says the knowledge of the conflict erupting beyond the border changed her perspective.

"I support Israel," said Green. "But it just made me really open my mind more to seeing this conflict in many different lights. Trying to really understand it from both sides and how the people over there feel. . Being here in America it`s really hard to grasp what`s going on."

Green visited Israel once before, during a time of peace. She says about half of the study abroad students returned home early, after the violence began.