Seven months after he left South Florida to visit his ailing mother in the Middle East, a Boca Raton man is finally home.
Hafez Almbasher arrived at Miami International Airport on Thursday afternoon, exhausted and relieved after 24 hours of flying -- and seven months of anxiety.
"My wife always crying. I am crying with her. I am the man in the house."
A legal United States resident but not a citizen, Almbasher left Boca Raton in April to visit his sick mother in Gaza, where he was born. As he was about to return, violence broke out there and Israel closed the border, preventing Almbasher and several thousand others from leaving.
Earlier this month, Israel allowed Almbasher to leave Gaza and enter the West Bank, but he was stuck there for weeks waiting for Jordan to give him travel documents. He finally received them and flew to Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday before continuing on to Miami.
"I was kind of really surprised and very much pleased to see how the Israeli government came to the rescue," said Altaf Ali, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida.
Ali and Almbasher's wife, Deborah, who pleaded for the U.S. government's help in September, were both at the airport to greet him. (MORE)