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Another group of terrorists arrived - with a pickup truck to take us back in

  • Sahar R.'s story

Wherever there was shooting, we just ran in the opposite direction

Ok friends, for all those who are asking, thank God I am okay.

For those who don’t know, I was at that party.

Dozens of people have asked me what happened there, how I escaped, how it started.

I have told my story at least 20 times it seems, since Saturday.

I realized that this is a subject that interests everyone. So firstly, thank you everyone for your concern. Thank God, I am here, I got through it.

So, how it actually started. It started at 6:00 in the morning. I remember clearly, we were at the party, by the way it’s a little strange to say, but the party started off really, really well. One of the best parties we’d been to, everyone was saying that. And of all parties, it happened at that party unfortunately. But we will be strong.

So the party started at night, and at around 6:00 in the morning, I remember that suddenly I saw light flying in the sky it seemed, and then more light. There were three, four, five lights. Then I said, wait, these aren’t fireworks. I saw some security guard going over to the DJ, turn off the music and then we realized it was missiles, they’re bombing us.

All those lights were either missiles or Iron Dome interceptions, I’m not sure which. Within about 10, fifteen minutes, there were hundreds of shells in the air. It was insane. Needless to say, they immediately turned off the music, and the guards told us to get out of there as quickly as possible.

That is one more moment where I can say “we were calm.” Because it’s a little crazy to say, but in our country, when there are missiles, it's kind of routine. I know that it’s very, very serious, but okay, there are missiles, we can take a moment to calm down, we’re used to it somehow.

Our feeling was basically, okay, we’re going to the car, let’s sit for a couple of minutes, calm down, and then we’ll drive as fast as possible. That was how a lot of people felt, a lot of my friends who were in that situation.

"My friend came back frantic, saying terrorists had sprayed his car with bullets."

Of course, there were a few people who immediately panicked, and people there were helping each other, but that’s how it was with the missiles.

And then, I remember that one of our friends just left. He was one of the first people to leave the party, and he came back frantic, saying terrorists had sprayed his car with bullets. And I just didn’t believe it. I thought he was having some kind of panic attack. It was unbelievable to me, it just sounded completely illogical. It was completely disconnected from reality.

And then he said it again, and suddenly I heard from someone else that there is shooting there, and that there are terrorists in pickup trucks. People actually said they’d seen it with their own eyes. After hearing it a few times, we realized that something really insane was happening. And we just started driving. Of course, there were lots of cars. We left, and we didn’t really know where to go. Then we got to the highway. There was a policeman there who told us not to drive on the main road, but to get onto the dirt road. Along with this convey cars, drive along this dirt road.

At some point, after a few minutes, I think we were around eight people in the car. People just got into every car, whoever could manage to get into their car. We loaded as many people as we could into the car, and just drove. There was a traffic jam, and all sorts of complications, and we tried to escape.

And then at some point, we realized there was shooting. We still didn’t hear them and we couldn’t decide whether we should abandon the car or not…. I said that abandoning the car in a field is ridiculous. I couldn’t think of doing anything like that.

And then when we heard the shooting, we just ran.

We heard shooting, and we just flew out of the car, everyone just ran. I remember that after about a minute, we said, there’s no way, we must be imagining the shots. We said we’ll go back to the car. So we went back, and started driving again.

"Intuitively, we just didn’t know where to run. Wherever there was shooting, we just ran in the opposite direction."

After a couple of minutes, we heard shooting again, this time closer.

And then I grabbed my phone, and we ran for our lives. Many people ran into the groves. Intuitively, we just didn’t know where to run. Wherever there was shooting, we just ran in the opposite direction.

After about ten, fifteen minutes, I don’t remember how much time, I realized there was some sort of convoy. There was a convoy of a lot of people, so I just said to myself that I’ll go with them. After a few minutes, I saw a policeman and it was a moment of relief to see a policeman that way, to feel somehow a bit safer. I don’t even remember if he had a weapon. He had a radio, maybe a weapon. It wasn’t really clear. I’m pretty sure he got there on his own, to rescue us. I don’t think he was at the party. Again, I don’t really know, that’s just what I think.

After a few minutes, I told myself that I’m sticking with this guy. I followed him, and we were about 500 people, if I’m not mistaken. We got to some valley and he stopped us and explained the situation.

He said there are terrorists in the area, and we are like sitting ducks right now. He didn’t lie, it’s good that at least he told us the truth. And it’s just us, by ourselves. There’s no army here, no soldiers. If all the craziness started at 6:00, I think this was around 7:00.

He told us that all he was trying to do was to get us to a safe area. He said to follow him and try to protect ourselves. I don’t know how. Knives, whatever we had, and to just walk.

We followed him, a crazy convoy. I remember I checked my phone and saw we were walking to one of the Kibbutz's. There were a few Kibbutz's that we weren't sure about at first, then when I realized we were going to the Patish, I checked Waze and then I remember that I saw it said 1 hour and 40 minutes by foot.

It was insanely hot, sun, and we were a large group of people. The only thing in my head was to just walk. With water, without water, needless to say that most people had finished their bottles of water, not everyone had taken water, and we just kept walking in the sun. It didn’t matter, an hour and 40 minutes sounds like a lot, it doesn’t sound like a lot…

I just kept walking, trying somehow to help other people, just say something nice, and just keep going.

People are walking in an open field

After about an hour and a half of walking, we saw a helicopter above us and we felt a little safer. There were police forces, or I don’t know, maybe it was a group of Druze protecting the settlements that just turned and came back and we just felt a little more protected. They told us to just continue and we were getting close to Patish, that we were on the right path.

Now our stress lessened a little, we also heard less shooting. So we felt a little safer.

I can say that what I really remember about our walk is that there were no bottles of water, which means that no one had water. There were pipes, the pipes you have in the field for watering plants, that you can turn on. Every so often, for the four hours that we were walking, there were three of those, so people would just stop and spray a bit of water on themselves to try to refresh themselves a little.

"Every so often, when I saw someone having real difficulty, I gave them a sip of water, I tried to say a few comforting words"

It was just a small ray of light, to see that water.

There were people who were not interested in water at all, they just wanted to walk as fast as possible, which is completely understandable.

For me, it was important to drink a little. Because I didn’t know how long we would really be walking, and at the end of the day, water is the most important thing. At one point, I saw a pipe and a lot of people were drinking and I thought, I don’t know if we’ll pass another one like this.

So I just started to look for bottles on the ground. I found a bottle that had been on the ground for, I don’t know, about two years. I washed it as much as I could, filled it with water, and then I had about half a liter for the whole walk. Every so often, when I saw someone having real difficulty, I gave them a sip of water, I tried to say a few comforting words, as much as possible.

The entire experience, every conversation we had on the way was just, “What insanity,” “This feels like we’re in a movie.” That’s just what we heard the most.

But the people in the group were so mentally strong. Everyone helping each other, encouraging each other. It was just unbelievable.

Yes, I know the situation was not a happy one, but there were so many heroes who helped with kind words. I remember that on the way, after we started following that policeman, after a few hours, we had three or four security people around us. Two or three policemen with some kind of weapon, and a few more people, a Special Patrol Unit or something. I have no idea, they had black shirts and they explained to us more or less what to do.

It's enough to have someone, two or three security personnel, who give some kind of hope and some kind of calm, so they really did a great job. I have no idea who they are, if they will read this, but I really really thank them. I truly think that those people saved hundreds of people.

All those kind words, the fact that someone comes up and says, listen, over there is the Moshav of Patish and it’s safe there, that was just amazing.

In this whole insanity, to check Waze, because somehow my phone was charged, but to check Waze and try to see where we are going, you need someone else to say, “Yes, you are right, this is the way.”

It was quite an experience.

"The amazing people of the settlement just invited us into their homes, to relax, to shower. They were just fantastic people."

Overall, we were walking through those fields for about four hours. At the end, we got to Moshav Patish. The first hour or two were just complete uncertainty. We heard shooting, so we ran in the opposite direction. We heard shooting, so we ran there.

And somehow all of this shaped up into going in a certain direction.

I remember that I met a few friends on the way, two girls and another guy, as we were walking. They each said that maybe they would be traumatized by this, maybe not…

My approach at least, was that this is a situation that I don’t know whether or not it will be repeated in my life. And the approach, at least the one I had in my head, was to try and come out of this mentally stronger, as much as possible. And then it dwarfs all the other problems that we have in life. Work, money, studies, all those things.

It just dwarfs all of that.

And I just took that approach. I took it all as some kind of lesson, that whoever went through it, will f**ing come out much stronger mentally in every aspect of life. That was my approach and I know that to some people it sounds weird that I think that way, maybe to some it gives a ray of light, a little hope.

The people who were with me, I know that I told them this, so somehow and in some way it helped them.

That’s it, my friends, that’s my story, all in all. When we got to Patish, we were much safer. We heard the news there, and they brought us food. The amazing people of the settlement just invited us into their homes, to relax, to shower. They were just fantastic people.

They were just amazingly giving, and so many rays of light and small miracles.

That’s it, I think I could go on for ages, but that’s the general story. From Patish we went to a friend’s place in Tel Aviv. How we got there is another story, but there, we were already safe. So that can be the end of this story.

That’s all, friends. I wish everyone only good news, be strong.

Sahar R.

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