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The terrorists were at our doorstep. I sat there with my son, petrified

  • Miki S.'s story

I had to choose how I’d rather die. Whether by hiding or trying to escape

#WeSurvived… and it took me some time to admit that.

Many people have asked me about that weekend, it took me some time to sort through it (and it will take me more time to process), but now I have found the words to tell my story.

Immediately after Sinai, we went to the Tal Or Farm (4 km from Nova), really excited about the weekend, in preparation for the Midbern event that was supposed to take place in November. The whole evening was incredibly exciting, the place, the group discussions, the symbolic lighting of the bonfire, the people, the togetherness, brotherhood and the music…

People stand around the fire

We could really imagine our city being built. Around 3 am (on October 7th) we turned off the music and went to sleep, looking forward to Saturday where we would continue working on our future “city”… but the reality was something else entirely…

At 6:30am we woke up to the sounds of [Iron Dome] interceptions and explosions. For a moment I had the thought that it would end quickly, but it didn’t stop. We realized this was something different (we didn’t realize how different) and we started to pack up.

Around 7:00 am I stopped packing up and saw an amazing sunrise. The thing that brought me back to reality was the sound of shooting (in hindsight I know that it was gunfire on the main road of the farm). Immediately I realized that something else was happening and we needed to get out of there as soon as possible.

Field and dark smoke in the sky

We started driving from the field in the direction of the entrance to the farm, and luckily for us Shahar, the owner of the farm, stopped us and told us about terrorists penetrating, and suggested we stay put. Thirty of us stayed at the entrance of the farm and the rest stayed in the field. Shahar sent up a drone to look over the main road and we maintained our restraint in the caravan complex. The pressure was intense and we tried to keep ourselves busy. Some played cards, some prepared food, one friend even took out his tour guide book and taught us about animal prints in the field.

“the young man who was glued to the drone camera shouted: ‘Shahar! Armed men at our fence!!’”

This whole time the sound of shooting and (Iron Dome) interceptions did not stop. Then the videos and reports from Telegram started to arrive. Absolute horror! It looks like a scene from a movie… and it was all happening right next to us. Around 10 am, the young man who was glued to the drone camera shouted: “Shahar! Armed men at our fence!!” I don’t think I will ever forget that sentence..

We started escaping. Some ran inside the caravans, some to the field. I froze. Where should I go? What is right? What the hell is happening here???

Pardon the tough expression, but I knew I had to choose how I’d rather die. Whether by hiding or trying to escape.

I ran in the direction of the field, I felt hopeless, and the understanding that I had no way to protect myself was awful. We stopped behind a tree for a moment to see what was going on… it was quiet. I expected at the very least to hear shooting from Shahar’s gun. 4 minutes that seemed like forever. Suddenly someone from far away shouted, “It’s one of us”. We started heading back and opposite us was a group of IDF soldiers with weapons, who had come to scan the area.

I finally breathed with relief, but we were all shaken. The friends who had run to the field started coming towards us together with another 20 people who had escaped from the Nova music festival. We realized we were about 80 people in the compound and we couldn’t stay there, we had to move… in the beginning I said to a friend, “Let’s stay a bit longer, we will leave soon.” But after a few moments we got a notification that Be’eri was captured. I got up and said, “We are leaving now.” Within 3 minutes we were in the car, at the gate.

“Any car driving towards us could be a terrorist as far as I was concerned”

I drove and stopped in front of the gate, without a seatbelt on (so I could get out of the car as fast as possible if needed), scared of leaving into the unknown. I counted to three, said Shema Yisrael [Jewish prayer, typically said in times of great need and traditionally supposed to be one’s last words] and drove out.

I pressed the gas pedal as if I was in one of the Fast and Furious movies. On the way we saw cars on the sides of the road. Any car driving towards us could be a terrorist as far as I was concerned, so I just kept driving as fast as possible in order to get to the safe zone of Tzehalim.

We got to Tzehalim, calmed down a little and after 2 hours continued heading home. I got to my parents at 6 pm and by 10 pm they already came to pick me up for Reserve Duty…

It took me some time to be able to say we survived. It was difficult for me because after all those horror stories, we had a lot of luck.

I dedicate this story to Hagit R.M. RIP. Hagit left the farm first, at the wrong time and in the wrong direction.

Miki S. smiling

(Hagit R.M. RIP)

We experienced a tough blow, really tough! But from that very same day I have been in uniform. I believe we will win, we have no other choice! We will still come back to dance in the dust! For all those who cannot.

Miki S.