Northeastern students in Israel during Hamas attack safely evacuated with help of university global security team

Headshots of three students who were in Israel at the time of the attack.
From left, Jesse Ruigomez, Keren Doherty and Joshua Einhorn. Courtesy photos

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All three Northeastern students who were in Israel during Hamas’ surprise attack have been safely evacuated from the country with the help of the university’s global security team.

Two of the students, Jesse Ruigomez and Keren Doherty, were completing co-ops in Tel Aviv. The third student, Joshua Einhorn, is an student studying in Greece. He was in Jerusalem visiting family and friends for the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah.

Northeastern provided Ruigomez and Doherty transportation and a security detail from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport near the city of Lod, Israel, about 40 miles from Gaza. From there, Ruigomez took a flight to Madrid, Spain, where he has family. Doherty took a flight to Lisbon, Portugal.

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Einhorn had already booked a return flight to Greece before the attacks and arrived safely back in Athens on Sunday.

Khushal Safi, Northeastern’s director of global security, said his team was able to help the students leave the country through the university’s Global Safety and Support Network

When Northeastern students and faculty travel abroad, they are required to register with the network so the university can help them in the event of an emergency.

“That’s why registering your travel is so important,” Safi said. “When you register your travel with the university and your information is correct in your profile, we can reach out to you through the travel registry.” 

She woke up to sirens

Doherty said she woke up to sirens outside of her apartment in Tel Aviv on Saturday. She spent much of that morning hiding in a bomb shelter near her building with her parents, who had come to visit her over the weekend.

Doherty said she felt greatly supported by Northeastern throughout the ordeal. The university’s Global Safety Office was “a huge help” in getting her and her parents out of the country, she said.

Doherty said she also received phone calls and text messages from her co-op coordinator offering support throughout the day.

A fourth-year nursing student at Northeastern, Doherty was working as a first-aid responder at Magen David Adom in Israel.

“Having some comfort and information was nice,” she said.

Ruigomez was in Israel working as a financial planning and analysis co-op at Nayax, a global financial technology company. 

Away from violence and gunfire

Ruigomez feels very fortunate that he and his friends were in an area that didn’t see as much violence and gunfire.

“Fortunately, I was in central Israel and not in the south where things are really bad since they were using short-range rockets,” he said. “I was safe, but it’s a horrible situation all around.” 

Einhorn was in Jerusalem at the time of Saturday’s attack. He had arrived in the city the night before to celebrate Simchat Torah. 

“We went to the synagogue and observed the holiday as usual,” he said. “Then, on Saturday morning at around noon, one of the people in the family we were staying with knocked on my door and told me we had to go to the bomb shelter.” 

From about 8 to 11:30 a.m., he said they had to return to the shelter every 20 minutes. 

After the first siren went off, Einhorn said he received a text message from Alyssa Berg, associate director of travel safety and security for Northeastern, asking if he was safe and his travel plans were still in place.

Einhorn said he was comforted by the outreach.

“You hear rockets every couple of months, and it’s not such an unusual thing,” he said. “But as soon as the first sirens went off, everybody could tell that it was a different situation than usual.”

Cyrus Moulton is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on X/Twitter @MoultonCyrus.