Monday, July 15, 2024
Homemy-turnI was at the festival in Israel. Terrorists surrounded us

I was at the festival in Israel. Terrorists surrounded us

It all began at 6:30 a.m. We were on the dance floor when missile interceptions started above our heads. The music was shut off and they told us to evacuate the place.

We ran to our cars with what little equipment we managed to grab from the complex and started driving. The roads were jammed and packed, everyone stressed to leave.

First, we drove to the right, and cars started making U-turns saying they were being shot at. So then we drove to the left—and the same thing happened.

That’s when we realized we were stuck.

Luckily, there was a brigadier general standing on the road. I stayed with him until he finished a phone call and he told me to run into the fields as fast and as far as I could.

And that’s what happened; hundreds of people on average 20 years old—essentially just children!—found themselves running like partisans into the woods, but with no ability to fight.

After a while, we realized we were surrounded by the terrorists in every direction of potential escape. All that was left was for us to hide.

As we ran, we could hear the whistling of bullets passing by us. We could only pray to not get hit.

Above us, the sky was grey, filled with never-ending missile interceptions. And yelling; some in Arabic, some in Hebrew.

Those who didn’t run or who stayed on the dance floor? Their end was different to ours.

We sent our location and just waited for rescue. We hid under a tree, barely covered, hoping not to be exposed.

Thoughts came to me about what scenario is better: Death or abduction?

I was thinking about my will, and what will I say? And of all the things I have yet to get done; all that I couldn’t accomplish yet. I thought about my family, and about Israel, and the army. Oh my, I love the IDF so much.

I thought about my trip, my friends. I wanted to write to everyone that I love them, no matter what happens to me, but I felt that was determining destiny for me.

I talked to God; I haven’t spoken to him in a while. I promised I’ll start keeping Shabbat, and that I’ll be more religious.

I made peace with dying. I’m sorry for the harsh words, but that’s what went down.

After six or seven hours under the tree, with only 2 percent battery left on my friend Michal’s phone, a guy named Rami started honking for us. We crawled towards the dirt pathway. A truck came and we bawled our eyes out as we got on.

So many things went through my mind.

Two civilians, Rami and a guy named Leon, who took their own trucks and came to rescue partygoers from the fields, saved our lives and many other people like us.

I was reminded of my immense love to the nation of Israel. In one moment, all of us were united again.

We arrived in Patish. Everyone was terrified. The sights we’d witnessed, the sounds we were forced to hear. All that’s left is to try and cope with them.

Hug your loved ones. I have never appreciated my life more. In my worst nightmare I couldn’t imagine this would happen. I am so thankful for those who were with me and could return home safely. I hurt so deeply for those who didn’t.

Things will need to be processed a lot more. Please forgive me for sparing you the harsh details of that day. Please don’t be ashamed to call for help from professionals. We cannot get through this alone.

I hug the defense forces, all of those who wrote to me, who worried for me, and prayed for us. And every single person who was there with me, who I couldn’t get through this without.

Naama Eitan is a survivor of the Supernova festival massacre in Israel.

All opinions in this essay are the author’s own.

Do you have a unique experience or personal story to share? Email the My Turn team at myturn@newsweek.com.

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