May 22, 2024

Photo by Michelle Checchi

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Having traveled the world as a social media content creator, former North Shore resident Michelle Checchi, 30, made her home two and a half years ago in the place she loved the best: Tel Aviv.

A wedding in Oregon of two close friends this coming weekend led Checchi to take a respite in the U.S. last week. If she was at home in the town of Florentin — often referred to as Tel Aviv’s Soho — Checchi likely would have been sitting in a trendy cafe working from her laptop when the bloody attack by Hamas militants on Saturday ignited a war in the Middle East.

Rockets were exploding into homes and destroying buildings after Hamas militants breached the blockaded Gaza Strip on Saturday. They invaded nearby Israeli towns, killing hundreds and kidnapping others in the surprise attack that unfolded on a major Jewish holiday.

The conflict has led to the death of more than 1,600 people — including at least 14 Americans — in Israel and the Gaza Strip. The deadliest attack in Israel in decades led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to describe the conflict as a “dark day” for the country. In fact, an Israeli military official likened the attack to the United States’ 9/11.

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