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Waiting Game For Americans in Israel After FAA Flight Ban

Read this story in My Champlain Valley

SHELBURNE, Vt. - Barrie Silver met her husband Gary Coffey on a trip to Israel in 1989.

"We met on this program and fell in love...with each other, and the country," Silver said.

The Vermont mom was eager to send her 16-year-old daughter Mira Coffey on a four-week trip of a lifetime to the holy land through the youth group BBYO.

"We knew Israel was a pretty volatile place, and we had some concerns about what was happening in the Middle East," Silver said. But she never expected the level of conflict that has built between Israel and Hamas over the past month.

Mira left for Israel July 1, the day after the bodies of three murdered Israeli teenagers were found. When she landed on July 2, a Palestinian teen had also been killed.

Tuesday, the FAA banned US airlines from flying to and from Tel Aviv, after a rocket landed just a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.

Mira is supposed to fly home Monday. This is just the latest development in four weeks of worry for her family in Vermont.

"One night they were in Eilat, there were two...rockets that were fired," Silver said. "And there was an air raid siren in the middle of the night and the kids were supposed to go to the bomb shelter in the hotel."

Silver never considered pulling her daughter out of the war zone, trusting the years of cooperation between U.S. tour groups and the Israeli Government.

"They have a security guard, they have an Israeli guide," she said.

Now it's a waiting game to see if planes will be safely taking off in time for Mira's return home.

"We can really only hope for the best," Silver said.

The F.A.A. only banned US airlines from flying for 24 hours, but will reevaluate Wednesday. European airlines are also considering halting travel to the region.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo trying to broker a cease-fire.

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