Booms and air raid sirens sounded in Israel Sunday after Iran confirmed that it launched an unprecented and extensive drone operation on the country.

Eric Goldstein, the CEO of the United Jewish Appeal⁣ – ⁣Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, was in Tel Aviv for a family wedding during the attack.

“There was this real fear about what might happen,” Goldstein said. “There were no ultimate sirens in Tel Aviv, but there were in Jerusalem.”

“And then today, incredibly, the beaches are full again. People are outside, and I’m about to go to a family wedding. It shows you a lot about the resilience of this country,” Goldstein added.

What You Need To Know

  • For the first time, Iran has carried out a direct attack on Israeli territory
  • Hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles were intercepted successfully in Israel 
  • Iran's foreign ministry says the attack is retaliation after two Iranian military generals were killed by an Israeli airstrike on Syria nearly two weeks ago
  • New York Rep. Gregory Meeks is worried that a possible response from Israel could throw this conflict into a wider war

Israel and Iran have been adversaries for decades. Iran's foreign ministry says the attacks are part of a revenge mission after two Iranian generals were killed in an airstrike in Syria earlier this month, for which Iran has blamed Israel.

Iran says it has a right to defend itself under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

President Joe Biden cut short a trip to Delaware to meet with his national security team at the White House.

The White House says the U.S. will “support” Israel's defense against airborne attacks from Iran.

New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is worried that a possible response from Israel could throw this conflict into a larger war.

“Make sure that we have containment, which I think that we have done thus far, and then de-escalation,” Meeks said. “That’s the conversation that has to take place thereafter.”

“Diplomacy really takes place right now in House leadership. It’s absolutely necessary. I think that’s the message the president was giving,” Meeks added.

There is also concern globally about this conflict between Iran and Israel sparking into a larger regional issue, and there are international calls for restraint.

“Israel is facing extraordinary adversaries and I hope that the world first of all understands the broader context in which Israel needs to exist in the region,” Goldstein said.

This is a sensitive time for many New Yorkers who have ties to the Middle East.

Mayor Eric Adams released a statement of support saying that “New York City unequivocally stands with the state of Israel in the face of this direct attack and escalation by Iran.”

“As mayor of the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, the significance of this attack for Jewish New Yorkers — many of whom have family in Israel right now — is not lost on me,” Adams said in the statement.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. And this historic attack leaves an already fragile region concerned for what lies ahead.

António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, is calling for an immediate halt to hostilities, saying the Middle East region cannot afford another war.

Meanwhile, the New York City Police Department is increasing security at houses of worship out of an abundance of caution.