MCM Professor Recalls Time In Israel Prior To US Flights Canceled

Published 07/29 2014 09:19PM

Updated 07/29 2014 10:40PM

Reverend Bill Libby, a McMurry University professor and radio co-host of "The Professors", says he and two students were in Israel the day the militant group Hamas launched rockets into Israel.

Libby is an adjunct professor of history and religion and has traveled to Israel with students to be a part of a program that studies political sciences and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the Galilee International Management Institute.

They flew out to Tel Aviv on July 3rd, and the next day, is when the attacks began. Libby and the students were 65 miles north in Nazareth, although there were still some concerns.

"The students were excited," says Libby. "There were security questions and flight questions raised."

Nevertheless, 27 students from around the world who came to Israel for the program stayed despite everything that was going on around them. In fact, it became the perfect place to learn the subject's matter.

"We were updated through radio and the television," recalls Libby. "The students wanted to know what was going on and how it was going to affect us."

The conflict in Israel is evident through the media. Libby even brought back a newspaper with the headline saying "Gaza is hell."

"I got e-mails from the faculty and staff concerned about what was going on and I would write to them and say we are safe," Libby said.

On July 22nd, the day Libby and the students were supposed to fly back to Texas, an alarm had been set off and a rocket had been launched and struck a home only two miles from the airport.

"We had our seat belts on and the pilot went on-air for us to evacuate immediately," Libby recalls. "We were told to go into the terminal and move away from the windows."

Only 15 minutes later, the airline would allow the passengers to go back and depart according to plan. It was when they landed back to the U.S. when Libby learned that was the rocket that prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cancel all U.S. flights to Israel.

"We knew that there could be alerts but I never expected it to happen at that point," adds Libby.

Nevertheless, all three men arrived home safely. Libby, a Vietnam War veteran, adds that the idea of rockets never scared knowing he has been in situations where rockets have blown up his tent.

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