Local families keep track of teens in Israel

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (WPVI) -- Because it's the summer, there are thousands of American students from Jewish communities in Israel right now at camps and on tours.

Their parents are monitoring every development and they want to make sure they're children are safe on the ground and in the air.

For the past few days, the Facebook page of Jane Bender's son Noah has been getting a lot of views from her.

The 16-year-old Lower Merion High School student is in Jerusalem on a teen tour of Israel.

"We're worried. We've been worried for a few weeks now. He left before anything started in Gaza," Jane said.

The news Tuesday of the FAA stopping US flights to Tel Aviv because of a missile strike near the airport didn't sit well with Noah's parents, but they're trusting their faith in Israeli security forces.

"Safety is not an option. That comes first and foremost. You can't make a mistake with that. Terrorists only have to be right one time. We, all of us, have to be correct 100 percent of the time," Lee Bender said.

The couple has been getting text messages from their son letting them know he's okay.

Over in Upper Dublin, Montgomery County, the Sterns are getting the same updates through a blog and email.

Their 15-year-old son Benjamin and other teens from our area are north of the violence at a camp.

"I know that they are going to keep these kids safe and that's what they want, but the blog really kind of feels you in on the day to day," Sheryl Stern said.

"The initial thought is anxiety," Alan Stern said.

The Sterns say they know the abundance of caution from the US is in light of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.

But they believe flights in and out of Tel Aviv are safe.

"It's God forbid that could be my son's flight, but I have the utmost faith in Israel that they are not going to let anything like that happen," Alan said.

Both those families say their sons will come home in the next week or so on non-US carriers.

Despite the conflict impacting the itinerary, those teens are said to be having the trip of a lifetime.
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