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Survivor stories

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I realized that if we stayed there, we would die

  • Almog S.'s story

Looking death in the eye

To all my friends from abroad. We are going through difficult times here in Israel. We try to be strong and support our communities.

On Friday, 2 friends and I went to the Nova festival and here is the escape story of me and my friend.

There are no graphic descriptions in the story, but I am sharing the story so that the world can get a taste of what people who came to celebrate peace and love had to deal with.

We managed to escape with a lot of luck.

Sending condolences and love to all those who lost their loved ones at the party, in the Moshav communities and kibbutzim that were invaded and in those who participated in the battles.

On the 7th of October, 2 of my friends and I went to the NOVA festival.

The Nova festival is a huge production, the rave had approx. 3,000 partygoers. We were excited about the festival. In the queue to the security check, we heard Spanish, English, Portuguese and other languages. It was an international festival hosting DJs from Brazil, India, Europe and other countries. We danced and enjoyed ourselves.

Around sunrise, we were dancing in the main stage when out of the blue we heard loud explosions. A few moments later, the music was turned off and we ran and took cover under the trees in the camping area. We were under rocket attack but we did not understand yet the magnitude of the attack we were under. After some time had passed, while still taking cover from the rocket attacks, a security guard had arrived and yelled at us to "get into your cars and leave". We quickly picked up our belongings and rushed to the parking lot.

It was chaos, I lost touch with my friends. While Rockets kept falling all around us, I called my friend over the phone and we tried to find each other once again; Eventually, we found each other and got into the car. It was chaotic. People were stuck in traffic on the way out and we had decided to stop the car on the side once again and take cover from the rockets. The rockets hadn’t stopped (at this point in time we had no idea about what was coming and that terrorist had penetrated Israel). Each time we got into the car, drove for a few meters, stopped and took cover under the trees; that is how we planned to make our way out to the main road; each time stopping and taking cover. At least that is what we thought would happen.

"We slowed our car and then we noticed he took out of the back of the truck a huge machine gun and pointed it at us"

Until all of a sudden, we started to hear rifles and gunshots. That was the first time we understood we were under an enormous attack. People started shouting to get into the car and escape, so we did. We arrived at the main road and we heard gunshots from the right and saw all the cars that went before us on the left. At a spur of the moment decision, Bar, my friend who was driving, drove straight to a dirt road parallel to the main round. We drove next to the jammed cars, people came out confused and with panic on their faces; While driving we picked up 2 girls from the rave. We saw policemen from a distance and left the girls there, but the police officers seemed confused so we had decided to navigate ourselves out. Bar drove and I navigated; we arrived to the nearest road that looked safe, on the way out of the field we saw cars standing still on the road. There was a T intersection between us and the road we hoped to get on to. Over there was a white pickup truck and next to it a man wearing an army vest, we didn’t understand who he was; we knew something out of the ordinary had happened but we had no clue about the terrorist invading Israel.

We slowed our car and then we noticed he took out of the back of the truck a huge machine gun and pointed it at us; at this moment it was clear who he was and what his intention was. Bar turned the vehicle quickly and stepped on the gas paddle as strong as he could, trying to take us out of there while we prepared ourselves to take fire.

"Rockets and gunshots sounded and fell all over, each siren we got out of the car and laid on the ground"

Luckily, we heard only one shot – we assumed the machine gun got jammed. We kept on driving at full speed, into the sun’s direction, since sunrise is from the East – and Gaza is on the West. Rockets and gunshots sounded and fell all over, each siren we got out of the car and laid on the ground looking all over to see if terrorists were arriving. Eventually, we arrived to a road near moshav "Patish". from there we decided to drive south, not to pass any Arab cities. We arrived at my house in Beer Sheva at 9:15am.

It is important for me to add that we are people of peace here in Israel, and we have conflicts in our lives. I mentioned in the story the fear we had of passing through Arab settlements on our escape route because of those conflicts. With Hamas and the ideology that Iran spreads in the region, we do not have a conflict but a war.

They do not follow a moral code that we know and promote.

During the invasion they did not differentiate between young and old, male or female.

In Rahat, a Bedouin city that we were afraid to pass through, at least 17 people, children and adults, were murdered. According to the ideology of the terrorists who are murdering those Bedouin Arabs, they are traitors because of the very fact that they live next to us.

Sad days and I wish us all better days.

Almog S.

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