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Survivor stories

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They went from house to house. Tormenting. Butchering. Slaughtering. Looting. Torching. Kidnapping

  • Batel A.'s story

There were people shot in the head, in the face, bleeding, wounded from shrapnel and panicking

So this is my story from that Black Saturday.

We got to the party at around six in the morning, maybe a little earlier. My friends were already there. My good friend Chai and I went to the bar, had a drink, and went to the open area for a bit. After a while, one of my friends went to the tented area. In hindsight, this was lucky since it was near the exit. We got there and sat down, chatting and laughing.

Batel A with her friend

After a few minutes, the missiles started and we didn’t understand what we were seeing. We even laughed about it a little. Very quickly, the music stopped and they told us that there was a Red Alert siren, and to find cover. We immediately ran to the booth where we had got the bracelets at the entrance. We were next to police, sitting on the floor, waiting for it to be over. At this point, we didn’t realize the enormity of the situation.

I’m an anxious person, and I panicked. My body froze, and every few seconds, Chai said, “Batel let’s go, let’s get out of here, this place isn’t safe!” I was too paralyzed to move. In the meantime, crazy panic set in, people starting running, getting into cars, just trying to escape from there.

At some point, Chai just shouted, “Batel! We’re getting out of here right now!” Luckily our car was close enough so we could get out. On the way out, there was a migunit [small, doorless concrete shelter] and we went in because we were scared of all the missiles. After a few terrifying minutes with some other people who didn’t know where to go, Chai decided that we weren’t staying there.

We continued driving out of the festival, in the direction of Kibbutz Be’eri. We saw that all of the cars in front of us were stopping by the side of the road, and people were again going into a migunit. We went into the migunit and were there for about 20 minutes until people ran by us from the fields shouting, “Terrorists, terrorists, escape!!!!!”

“We ran into the car and just began driving. With no direction, without knowing where to go.”

We ran into the car and just began driving. With no direction, without knowing where to go. There was a bottleneck of cars, a lot of chaos. We started making U-turns, about five times, driving in circles in an area of about 2 km, maybe less. Slowly, we realized that the terrorists were closing in around us, and that if we don’t get out of the car right now, there would be a huge disaster.

We were near a gas station so we ran to it. There was one policeman outside and about 20 people in the storage room. People who had been shot in the head, in the face. People bleeding, people with shrapnel, people panicking. We were there for almost four hours, and most of those hours are erased from my memory. Fear and terror, those are mild words for what we went through.

Two men are sitting in a room without shirts and faces are blurred

A policeman is holding a gun and two men are next to him

A policeman is standing at the entrance to the gas station

In every way possible, from every cellphone available, we tried to bring forces to us, to help and protect us. They couldn’t get to us. There were terrorists all around us, and the never ending sound of shooting! At this point, the barrage of missiles above us was the least of our worries.

“There were terrorists all around us, and the never ending sound of shooting!”

People took everything they could out of their cars to protect us: axes, clubs, knives, fire extinguishers. They tore refrigerators from the walls so they could block the doors of the gas station while we were inside hiding, in silent horror, in the storage room. After about four hours, army forces arrived and told us to escape, as fast and as far as we could. They told us the general direction to go. Just don’t stop!!

We got into the car, Chai was driving and I sat next to him on the floor of the car, anxious, crying Shema Yisrael [Jewish prayer said in moments of greatest anxiety and traditionally meant to be one’s last words] to the sky, and driving as fast as possible. We were surrounded by police, road blocks, terrorists, missiles falling us, and God.

I can’t tell you the end of my story because I feel like I am still there. The messages about the number of friends who were murdered or kidnapped. The images that are burned into my memory. And the soul… the soul that is forever scarred. I can only give thanks to God that I am here to tell my story.

Batel A.


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