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  • Vlada P.'s story

Terrorists were gunning down everyone in sight, like it was a computer game

In all honesty, I hadn't intended to share my experiences. I thought recounting the memories would be too difficult, and I questioned the importance of my personal experience. There are people who witnessed far worse, or were down there for longer. People who were murdered in cold blood or still missing and their fate still unknown. Who was I to talk? I felt ashamed.


It’s been two days since October 7th. I’ve been processing what happened, and being asked repeatedly to recount and to share, so here it is. I’m sharing with you my personal miracle, my own wild instance of divine providence.


I came to the Nova music festival with my fiance Matan and a mutual friend May. Matan happened to get two tickets for free from a cousin. May joined us at the last minute. On the way there, I realized that the party was only a kilometer or so away from Gaza. While there had been recent flare ups, being from the south, rocket fire is a fact of life, not a reason to skip the party. Besides that, being so close to the border, I expected rocket fire to reach further inland, flying over our heads, leaving us relatively safe.


Something felt off on the way to and at the party but I ignored it. I tried to stay loose and go with the flow.


"We called out, asking what happened and were told that there was a terrorist ahead"


The energy at the party wasn’t great so I gave up on dancing wildly and lay down with May on a nearby straw mat. At roughly 06:40 Matan sat down next to use and asked if we had heard the sirens. He had heard the rocket sirens coming from my phone before we had seen or heard anything. Seconds later the sky was filled with rockets. At first people responded calmly - being used to such things - but things got crazy pretty fast. We left our things where they lay, and started running towards our car. I have a good sense of direction, and we were the first ones out, but somehow it took us between five and ten minutes to find our car. You’l see later that these minutes may have saved our lives.


We were among the first to get to our car and as we got in we started hearing gun fire. We didn’t pay much attention to it, we were on the border and already making our way away. The road out of the party leads to a fork in the road and we turned left, heading for Ashdod. We were the fourth or fifth car driving that way, when suddenly the cars stopped and started to frantically turn around. We called out, asking what happened and were told that there was a terrorist ahead.




"We saw tens of terrorists yelling 'Allahu Akbar' and gunning down everyone"


I was driving, Matan sat next to me and May was in the back seat. My initial thought was that this was a lone terrorist and that we would be ok. A man in the car in front of us got out of his car and started running our way. He was shot and fell to the ground. I told Matan and May to get down, stayed focused and turned the car around. Bullets were flying everywhere. Don’t ask me how we didn’t get shot, I don't know.


We made it back to the fork in the road, where we hit a traffic jam. People had realized the way left was blocked by terrorists, and everyone was heading right. Bullets were flying all over there, so we joined the throngs of people getting out of their cars and running for the entrance to the party. There were a few armed guards to offer protection, as well as a concrete shelter to protect us from the rockets that were still raining down.


I wanted to stay in the shelter but May forced me out. The guards were yelling for us to run east, to run for our lives. The gunfire was getting closer and we realized that we were being attacked by more than one or two terrorists. There were many tens and dozens of terrorists riding in white trucks and motorbikes shooting automatic rifle fire in every direction.


We ran back to the car. As we ran, we saw the bodies of half of us lying shot on the ground. Somehow we made it to the car, and I drove the car off the road and into the field, angling the car east.


A minute later we hit another traffic jam. We were half way out of the car when we saw tens of terrorists yelling “Allahu Akbar” and gunning down everyone in sight like it was some computer game. They ran at us and we got back in the car. I tried to maneuver us out but we were stuck. I heard May yelling at me to run, that they are here. The bullets started hitting the car and we got out. I jumped under a tree, thinking that running was useless, that they would surely hit me. May saw me and yelled at me to get up and run, which got me going. I started running, but I was in shock. I didn’t scream or shout, just ran. We spread out and ran as fast and as far as we could. I’m trying to impress on you how I could have died at any and every junction.


While i was running a car stopped next to me. I didn’t even consider getting, and I could tell from the recording later that they hadn’t intended on letting me in. Somehow my guardian angel Yosef Ben-Abu decided to stop right by me, even though his friend was urging him not to stop, to keep driving. I got in the car and May saw me get in and yelled for them to let her in as well. I opened the door and she leaped in. Then I heard Matan calling my name. I saw him but the car kept driving.

I’m not blaming anyone. Thank god we all made it home. Things turned out the way they should have, but in that moment, the look on Matan’s face is one I'll never forget. I lost sight of him as the door closed and I saw those running behind him fall to the terrorist’s bullets. We were crammed into the car, seven of us in a compact KIA Picanto.


"We were driving directly towards an armed terrorist"


I had my head down cause we were being shot at. I called Matan, I was sure no one would pick him up, he would be killed for sure. Eventually a wonderful woman stopped and gave him a ride.


At that time we were still being shot at from all directions. We were driving directly towards an armed terrorist standing next to a white van. Somehow when we reached him he was lying dead on the floor. I’m not sure what happened, he may have been hit by gunfire from the terrorists chasing us. I’ll never know exactly what happened, but once we reached the junction he was lying there dead in front of us, some luck. The driver wanted to turn right, but we yelled for him to turn left. Bullets flew at us from the right. No one was hit, it felt like god was guiding us to the left.


After minutes of horrifying driving we safely reached the Tze’elim army base. Matan had reached the Urim army base at the same time, and I could hear that he was being shot at as well as the grenades exploding over the phone (Thanks god they didn’t make it into the base).

When we arrived at the base they didn’t listen to us, and discounted our stories, considering us a bunch for dope heads. At the same time our friends were running and hiding for their lives and no one, no one went out to help them, even hours and a full day later.


I overheard one of the soldiers saying that now she understands why ammunition had been stolen over the past few days and months. I realized that we weren't safe on this base. There were two 18 year old female soldiers guarding the main gate. I knew they wouldn’t be able to stop dozens of terrorists with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.


We spent hours at the base. We were there from morning until night. There were hardly any forces on base because of the weekend. Soldiers were walking around in pajamas. The soldiers told us that if we wanted to leave, we could drive or have our parents pick us up. They didn’t offer any protection or other transportation. I don’t blame them, no one knew what was going on at that point.


"Our families wanted to come get us, but we knew they shouldn’t risk it"


At 20:30 a couple of parents came to the main gate and were yelling that their daughter had been at the party. She had been shot in the ribs and had sent them the GPS location where she and another guy had been hiding under a car since 0700 o'clock!. At that point it was 20:30 and no one had gotten to them, and no one was letting the parents get through to them either. If anyone has any information about who she was and what happened to her, please share it with me. I can’t get her and her parents out of my head.


At that point May and I were some of the only ones left on the base. We didn’t know what to do. Our families wanted to come get us, but we knew they shouldn’t risk it. We knew what we saw and we knew what was out there, no one should go out there.


Luckily for us, Maor Harush, May’s heroic boyfriend, came out to pick us up. He got us, and against all the warnings drove an extra 15 minutes to get Matan from Urim. We were scared the whole way, but we finally reached home. We were home, hugging our little girl, while others were abandoned for long hours in the field, while others were kidnapped and murdered for hours. I’m sorry.


Why is it so important for me to share this? To show that god watched over me. Every moment of my experience was critical in an insane way. Insane.


Five months before this attack I kept seeing the number 111. For those who believe or know, these numbers signify divine intervention from the book of angels. From the night before the attack all I saw was inverted numbers like 12:21, 13:31, 14:41. All these numbers, and I had a bad feeling and then it happened.


Two days after getting home I was sent a video of me being rescued, and the size of the video was 11.1 MB. Think what you may, but that number blew my mind. I’d like to share a picture of May because it's only thanks to her that I'm still here. She is a god-send.


I’m begging everyone, we need to finish with this once and for all. I say this and at the same time my heart goes out to those people in Gaza who suffer and get hurt. To children, babies and women who suffer from Hamas. Don’t kill me.


I know that hundreds of our friends are still there, but when I was on the base I looked everywhere for something sharp in case they came and didn’t kill me. I wanted to be able to end my life. No matter what, I wouldn't let them take me alive after what I saw them do. They are animals, they are insane, they won’t have mercy on any of us. We must destroy them completely, no matter the cost. Otherwise we will keep paying a heavy price, day by day, year by year forever. I wish that we can find a way to free those that were taken. I pray everyday that they are whole and healthy. This time is different. They came at us with extreme force. We need to attack them with a vengeance. Destroying their buildings isn’t enough anymore, they are here. They are among us. Only god knows how many of them are out there.


After the miracles i experienced i believe that god is close to us and watches over everything. Things will work out, but i wish that there won’t be any more people hurt. This must end.


I needed to get this off my chest and share. Thank you, thank you, thank you my father in heaven for every second. Thank you for watching over me. Thank you for allowing me to be here holding my daughter and my family. My heart goes out to those who experienced these horrors. Those who lost their loved ones or don’t know their fate, I feel your pain.


Vlada P.


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