I’m a Columbia University student and an Israel Defense Forces reservist. I immediately made plans to return to Israel following Hamas’ attacks even before I got my official call-up. – DAVID RAUDALES


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I’m a Columbia University student and an Israel Defense Forces reservist. I immediately made plans to return to Israel following Hamas’ attacks even before I got my official call-up.

Shira Guez (right) is a 24-year-old Columbia University student and reservist in the Israeli Defense Force.

Courtesy of Shira Guez/Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Shira Guez, 24, an Israeli student at Columbia University, flew back to Israel on Monday night.
Guez is a reservist in the Israeli Defense Forces and was preparing to return even before she was called up. 
She told Insider that she was horrified by images of children who were hurt in Hamas attacks.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Shira Guez, a 24-year-old Israeli student at Columbia University who is also a reservist in the Israeli Defense Forces. She spoke to Insider from the airport on Monday about her decision to leave New York and go back to Israel after Hamas launched a wave of attacks in the country over the weekend. 

I’ve been at Columbia University for two years. I study computer science. 

I am also an Israeli Defense Forces reservist from Ashdod, Israel. It’s a city in the South.

I woke up on Saturday morning to a call from a friend and she told me there is a war. It’s a serious war and from my personal experience, I feel we have never had something like this.

It’s like a movie. It takes me back to the Holocaust. One picture really touched me of a child who was kidnapped there. 

There is a lot of war and conflict around the world. But no matter what you are fighting about, no matter what the history is, there is no cause to make kids and women suffer.

That, honestly, is what really affected me to go and fight in this war. There is no reason that civilians should not just be killed but suffer before. 

When I saw this image I said I don’t know what I will do in Israel. I just will go and find out. Because I can’t be in the States when this is a kid that could be my brother.

There was no question I would volunteer.

When I saw all those videos of what’s happening, I said, I am so privileged to be here in New York and study computer science. But I can’t do that. It felt to me like it would not be aligning with real life. 

On Saturday night, I sent a message to all my commanders and said I wanted to come back, even before I got my official call. 

For two years I was an officer in the military system and I know that I can contribute. I decided I would go even before I got called. I planned all my flights before I got the official call. And then this morning, I got called up.

I will not do the duty I got called back for. I will do a duty that I volunteered to do. 

I will be at Pikud (home front military command) — it is basically the largest unit the army has. Whenever there is a situation, we need to figure out who to call, whether it be medical people or fighters.

I don’t fear. I was eager to get back because I feel there is a need. My country needs me and I will do whatever there is a need for. 

I believe that when we stick to our values, we win and we win only because we really care about this. Every building that we bomb and every different action we do, it comes with a lot of thought about the right response.

We don’t know how long the war will last.

I told my university I believe I will be back when it ends. A friend and I estimated it could be six months. But of course, there is no guarantee. 

I have always believed in peace. I came here to the United States because I wanted to be an ambassador. I came with zero English.

I think that everyone can help. They just need to think about how. 

I have a song in the back of my head that there is a hope of peace for the next generation of kids.

Read the original article on Business Insider