LAFAYETTE, Calif. - Two mothers have opened up about how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has profoundly impacted their lives.
One of them resides in the Bay Area, and her son serves in an elite Israeli military unit. The other is a mother of five young children living in Jerusalem, currently sheltering in place.
Amy, whose last name is withheld, lives in Lafayette, but her heart is with her 23-year-old son Ari who is on the front lines in Israel.
"He enlisted, and he got into a special unit that's a combat unit," she said.
She also opted not to disclose her son's last name for safety reasons.
Amy said immediately after the recent attacks, Ari's military unit was sent to help a kibbutz that had been overrun by Hamas.
"Their job was to make sure there were no more terrorists inside the kibbutz and protect the people that were survivors there and guard them from further harm," Amy explained.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Avital Schreiber Levy, another mother, frets over the safety of her five children, aged 2 to 12. She said they have been listening for sirens that indicate rockets are overhead.
"So what that means is gathering my five children and saying siren, and we go down to the building's communal bomb shelter," Schreiber Levy described.
She said that the scenes unfolding around them are like a nightmare.
While her husband, a doctor, is called to fight, she recognizes the importance of her own role.
"I feel a strength in the realization that I am needed and that I can't afford to fall apart and that mothers are soldiers now," she said.
Schreiber Levy said that everyone in the region, has either lost someone or has someone fighting and that the mood is grim.
"Unspeakable sadness, shock, and horror that humanity can come to this," she said.
Amy said she recently got a call from her son, and he is OK for now. All she can do is hope this fighting is over quickly.
"I sit here scared. I sit here crying with all those other mothers, hoping that my son won't become a victim," she said.