Butler County couple returns home after finding way out of Israel following attack

A couple from Trenton had their dream vacation to the Holy Land turn deadly following the deadly attacks by Hamas.
Published: Oct. 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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TRENTON, Ohio (WXIX) - A Butler County couple’s dream vacation in Israel turned dangerous after the deadly terror attack by Hamas last weekend.

Jim and Debbie Lewis of Trenton had saved money for years to visit the Middle East. Their trip was unexpectedly extended after the attack and subsequent fighting. Instead of seeing sights they spent much of their time in a bomb shelter.

“We had to get off the bus,” Debbie Lewis said. “We didn’t know why we were getting off the bus, but then they directed us to a bomb shelter. We were hearing bombs go off as we went into the bomb shelter.”

They said they spent the last few days of their trip in the shelter after contacting the US Embassy, which said to stay put.

“We were told all US-based airlines had suspended flights,” Jim Lewis said. “I called the US Embassy for help and they just said stay put, you’re in a safe location. The President had not ordered an evacuation yet.”

Against the advice of the Embassy, the Lewises found a flight from Israel to Ethiopia. They hopped flights through different countries until they arrived home on Thursday night at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

“I’m thinking our money might run out,” Debbie Lewis said. “I don’t know how long we’ll be here. I don’t know if we can get out. It was very scary.”

The couple said they were happy to be home but now have to account for an extra $8,000 in costs after their trip was unexpectedly extended and they had to improvise a way home.

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