WARREN - Missile warning sirens don't sound in Ramat Hasharon, the Tel Aviv suburb where Janet Harshman Agassi lives, with nearly the same frequency as they do in areas closer to Gaza, the violent epicenter in the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
But that doesn't mean sirens don't sound. Harshman Agassi, a child of Youngstown's North Side, says when the warning alert wails, it carries the same urgency to find shelter and safety.
Israelis ''cannot ignore, cannot be cavalier'' when the alert is sounded because it's the difference between life or death, she said.
Violence and the death toll continues to rise in the conflict between Hamas and Israel, which over the weekend escalated its bombing campaign into Gaza.
In the more active areas of the fighting, rocket sirens ring often, ''hundreds every day,'' said Harshman Agassi, who with her family fled to the shelter in her home when the news announced there was a siren in Ramat Hasharon.
''You can imagine people in the south hearing a siren, as if it's a tornado siren, every five minutes,'' she said, describing its sound as ''frightening'' because of the loudness, and the unknown of waiting for the ''boom.''
''You hope and pray that this boom is going to be far away from any human being and your house,'' she said.
People living in areas close to the Gaza border have between seven and 15 seconds to find shelter once the siren sounds, she said. In further cities, such as Tel Aviv, it's about 90 seconds, she said.
Harshman Agassi, 59, moved to Israel in 1982 to work as a producer for ABC News. She also worked for 60 Minutes and has spent the last decade teaching business English to global companies.
Yifat Yerushalmi, 53, moved to Youngstown from her Israeli home near the Lebanon border during August to teach Hebrew and Judaism at the Akiva Academy inside the Jewish Community Center.
She has friends and family, ''my life is over there,'' in the border community. Being away, she said, is more difficult than to be there because ''you feel like you don't have control, don't know exactly what is going on.''
Yerushalmi's daughter, Mika, was flying to the states for a visit when the latest conflict erupted. She learned of it when she landed at JFK Airport in New York.
''I really wish there was a diplomatic way, but in my perspective, I don't think there is talking to Hamas,'' said Mika, who a year ago in December finished her mandatory two year military service.
Andrew Lipkin, assistant executive director of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, said media has given little attention to the hundreds of missiles fired into Israel and ''every single one of those rockets was determined to kill innocent civilians.''
Israelis are trying to avoid civilian casualties by dropping leaflets in and making automated calls to warn people living in areas being targeted in Gaza.
There's also a ''double standard'' at work, Lipkin said.
The rockets being shot into Israel are being shot at civilians from civilian-populated areas of Gaza and Hamas is using civilians as ''human shields,'' he said. He also said the matter is one of self-defense.
''If Canada decided to shell rockets into the U.S., do we really think the U.S. would allow 800 rockets to fly into Buffalo, N.Y., before there was some action taken?'' he said.
Jabr Elwanni, president of the Arab Community Center in Youngstown said this latest cycle of violence had Israel targeting and killing a Hamas leader in downtown Gaza, which caused Hamas to retaliate.
He disagreed with claims that Hamas is using civilians as shields, saying Gaza, a 24-mile-long 10-mile-wide strip of land has a population of 1.5 million, ''more densely populated than New York.''
''The accusations don't stand the test of reality,'' Elwanni said.
Elwanni said it's difficult to watch from afar what's happening because his friends and family who still live in the West Bank ''live under the uncertainty and not knowing what could happen with this indiscriminate carpet bombardment.''