Israeli Flight Restrictions has Local Family Worried About Daughter's Return

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A South Florida family speaks with NBC 6's Jamie Guirola about their daughter's anticipated return from a trip to Israel. (Published Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014)

    The flight restrictions being imposed on Israel-bound flights has a Hollywood family worried about when they are going to be able to pick up their 16-year-old daughter who has spent the last six weeks in the war-torn area.

    "Counselors or teachers said Jenna (Marks) ‘Quick you go to the shelter,’ and she went and that was her first experience,” said Jenna’s mother Cindy Marks. “She said, ‘I wasn’t really afraid. I just was stunned that that’s what it was."

    Jenna, 16, has been in Israel in a learning program earning credit for high school. She’s in the country with one hundred other kids, all experiencing turmoil in the Middle East first hand. The alerts to go to the bunker have become common and cell phone video she’s taken shows the group singing while in the shelter.

    Gary Marks, Jennas father said, "She goes, ‘I feel safer there than I do over here.’ I said, ‘How can you feel safer over there than over here?’ And she said, ‘Because everybody is looking out for everybody else.’"

    Jenna’s trip is set to end next week, but the violence has jeopardized her travel plans. The FAA has kept flight restrictions to Israeli airport in place for the last 48 hours after the airport was hit by rockets. Airlines have also stopped service to the area indefinitely.

    Gary said, "You just have nervous calm, as crazy as that may sound. I know that at work it’s very, very difficult. I spend quite a bit of time watching the news as it comes out."

    Jenna’s group may make alternate arrangements using Israeli carriers to get her home on time. Her parents are concerned, but they are surprisingly more comforted because of Jenna’s perspective on the whole situation.

    Cindy Marks said, "Truly what really, for me, inspired me was Jenna. She said, ‘I’m not afraid. I feel strong. I feel empowered being here seeing people, everybody, helping each other."

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