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Survivor stories

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He saw beloved friends of ours, some shot all over their bodies, others burnt alive

  • Adir D.'s story

Our bodies may be unharmed, but our souls are scarred and our hearts shattered

Anyone who knows us understands what the trance music scene means to us. Those who know me well understand the significance of music in my life. It’s a sanctuary, the place where we felt most liberated, and where we could be the best version of ourselves.

Adir D with his friends at nova festival

The Nova tribe was not just a community; it was our home, our friends, and our kind of people. They were remarkable, good-hearted, and well-educated individuals raised with values of integrity and love - truly the salt of the earth. Because for us, trance isn't merely music; it’s a way of life. We bought our tickets months in advance, eager to be there with our family and friends, ready for an amazing time.

But then, the nightmare unfolded.

Let me rewind a bit: I woke up from an evening nap around midnight, as we had planned to drive to the event early to make the most of it. Strangely, I woke up feeling anxious and restless, even though I was going to my favorite place with my loved ones and friends.

Upon arriving at the party around 2:30 am, I was still on edge. However, when I saw our friends, the atmosphere transformed, the party was electrifying, and my anxiety gave way to joy. As dawn broke, we found ourselves on the main dance floor. My wife checked her phone, and it was 5:55 am. We exchanged smiles, and I whispered, 'Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa.'

"The situation took a terrifying turn when gunshots pierced the air, and the police shouted 'Terrorists!'. They urged everyone to abandon their cars and flee eastward."

At 6:30 am, chaos erupted. Red Alert sirens blared, missiles streaked across the sky, and a panicked rush ensued. It was stressful, but little did we know that more challenges waited for us as we attempted to leave by car. We reached the exit; a right turn would lead us to the direction of Gaza, and left would take us back home. The road on the left was completely blocked. Throughout, the unsettling sound of Red Alerts and missiles filled the air, an unfamiliar experience in central Israel.

The situation took a terrifying turn when gunshots pierced the air, and the police shouted 'Terrorists!'. They urged everyone to abandon their cars and flee eastward. Our friends from home, Segev, Dan, and Ron, were in the car with us. My wife and I fled to the left, while Dan and Ron ran right. Unfortunately, I had left my phone in the car (my wife still had hers), and that's when we got separated from our friends.

For three agonizing hours, we ran for our lives, the sounds of gunfire drawing nearer. It became increasingly evident that we couldn't rely on external help; there were no soldiers in the vicinity. We were on our own in this harrowing situation. During this time, Ron and I made repeated attempts to locate each other, but without success. After nearly two hours of escaping and hiding from gunfire, Ron called to inform us that they had found a car and were coming to get us. It was a real challenge for us to let them know where we were.

We sent a location that appeared close to their position, but we weren't even on the highway. We were in a small valley with hundreds of people seeking safety. Throughout, Dan and Ron persisted in trying to reach us and track our whereabouts. They never gave up on us. After two more grueling hours, we managed to reach the highway unharmed, and that's when they found us.

"For three agonizing hours, we ran for our lives, the sounds of gunfire drawing nearer."

We saw our friends in the car, along with at least eight people crammed inside like sardines, people they didn't even know but who pleaded to be saved. We all got into the car and headed toward the unknown, praying that we were moving in the right direction. We checked the map for a nearby Jewish moshav and noticed that Beeri was very close. As we reached the gate, we noticed it was open, which immediately raised suspicions.

My wife called for us to stop and turn around because something didn't seem right - the expressions on people's faces were suspicious (in hindsight, we now know that the moshav had already fallen under Hamas control by that time). We promptly reversed course and continued driving until we reached Soroka Hospital, where we realized that we had survived.

This is a story about friendship, about friends who never gave up on us and put their lives at risk to bring us home, exemplifying what this country is all about. It's a tale of mutual trust and unity. We are grateful to be alive, along with our loved ones. I offer my gratitude to the divine for watching over us; it was truly providence.

Our bodies may be unharmed, but our souls are scarred, our hearts shattered. Our thoughts are with the civilians, friends, and soldiers who were senselessly lost or taken captive, including children, babies, and entire families. Our hearts go out to the loved ones and families who remain in captivity or missing. The feelings of humiliation and abandonment are painful, more so than the ordeal itself. The enemy doesn't distinguish between the right and left wings in politics; someone above wanted us to come together because 'if a lion roars, who will not fear him.' It's time for the lion to roar.

Only love will conquer, Am Yisrael Chai (the people of Israel live).

Adir D.


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