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I was surrounded by screams, sweat, blood, garbage, and body parts

On Friday [6 October] I drove to work as a team manager at “Nova”. I was happy. Eilkin picked up…

I was surrounded by screams, sweat, blood, garbage, and body parts

Massacre party.

On Friday [6 October] I drove to work as a team manager at “Nova”. I was happy. Eilkin picked up Doushi, Cookey, Inbar and me. We were pumping up ourselves all the way to the party, and thrilled that the time to move our asses had finally come. We arrived at the party and opened the kanta (a relaxation area). The vibe was a bit weird. Doushi, Cookey and I sat in the kanta and weren’t able to discuss our feelings.

Around 6 AM Yarin Artifex (who, in addition to being very talented was also a dear friend) arrived to play a sunrise set. We got up to go to the dance floor to move a little bit. As soon as we started having fun, the music stopped. There was an announcement that there had been a terrorist infiltration to the site of the party and we must run for our lives. Meanwhile, the sky was filled with missiles and missile interceptions (from Iron Dome), as if from a movie scene. The police officers were urging us to drive away by car, but our logic reasoned that if 4,000 people were going to try and leave by car, no one would be able to flee.

Our logic won out and we stayed on the field. Doushi read us [the prayer] Shema Israel and we all prayed for this thing to be over. But in fact, it only just began.

As we were about to get out of the car and start running, we saw an endless stream of terrorists enter by foot. They had all sorts of weapons and we understood that it was time to run and pray a lot. Then I understood that, if anyone was going to survive, it would be a miracle. From then on, everything was fate.

After about 15 minutes of running while being shot at, a guy pushed me into a garbage container. We hid there, me and probably 10 other people, for about three hours. Around us we heard shots being fired and terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar”. We prayed only for the chaos to be over. We wondered to ourselves: Where is the IDF? Where are the police? Is someone about to come to our rescue? While missiles were being fired above our heads no one answered us, not the police nor any other armed forces.

A lot of people were injured, screams everywhere, bullets whistling, cars exploding, and many Gazan terrorists with weapons prancing, celebrating and shooting. We only came to celebrate my precious “Nova” [party].

After about three hours of hiding in the garbage container in the sun, all sweaty and covered in our own urine, I heard a terrorist very close by. I asked one of the girls that laid there to be quiet so he wouldn’t come to kill us. She told me she had to change position and move. The plastic that was piled in the garbage beneath us made a sound. In a fraction of a second the terrorist was inside the container, shot us all and yelled at the top of his lungs “Allahu Akbar”.

“Two beautiful, good guys were shot in the head and fell down right in front of us. The rest of the girls were shot all over their bodies.”

Two beautiful, good guys were shot in the head and fell down right in front of us. The rest of the girls were shot all over their bodies, and I was shot in each of my upper thighs, and in my shoulder. Apparently, the bullet that hit my shoulder hit the sole of Noam’s shoe and her left leg was saved thanks to me. I called my mom to tell her that I loved her, but I would not make it this time.

I was surrounded by screams, sweat, blood, garbage, and body parts that lose all meaning when you are this empty. Then began the race against time, and the list of angels that took care, bringing me back from death to life.

Rom, who was securing the party, ran to me with Yagil (producer and head of security). They came to the opening of the container and urged me to crawl to them. They told me that the rescue was being conducted under fire. By this time, I had been playing dead under garbage bags for over 30 minutes, while still losing a lot of blood. I knew I had to use every little bit of the strength I had left in me to get myself out of there. I had to crawl between dead bodies all the way to Yagil and Rom.

I got to them and Rom, who had already been shot in both hands, carried me, smiled at me and told me to not worry, and that he would take care of me. Between bullets and missiles, having been shot in both hands, he was saving people. Rom had been missing from the moment I was rescued. I had been praying that he was alive, surviving the horrors with his huge smile.

At the army medical station the soldiers didn’t have enough medical supplies. They put an arterial tourniquet on the wound of my left leg only. They wrote the time 12:00 on my forehead with lipstick. My only option was to pray that, against all odds, I would still have all my limbs.

A police vehicle evacuated me under heavy fire. There were shots all around while I was lying folded and bleeding in the back seat, covered by a police officer who kept me from being shot at. When we arrived at the first ambulance, the paramedic was shaken. He didn’t have any blood nor pain killers. When the team understood that that ambulance couldn’t help me, I was rolled, yet again under heavy fire, to another ambulance of “United Hatzalah” [a volunteer organization]. There I was welcomed by Noam, Noa and Yaara with admirable calm and composure, even though I was on the verge of death.

I felt foggy and had a hard time speaking. That ambulance had also run out of painkillers, so Yaara stopped immediately next to another ambulance that gave us a Katamine shot through the window. That was a game changer. 30 seconds after Yaara shot the Katamine into my left shoulder, my brain was on vacation in Hawaii. I felt nothing, had no understanding of the situation, and did not think about whether I was going to survive this nightmare or not.

It was like I was flying over the scene and didn’t really understand. There were so many questions: Why was I there? Why did the terrorist shoot me? Why were we in this situation? Were my friends safe? Where were they? And many more like, was I happy with the life that I had lived that far? Because it was about to come to an end. Would I have changed anything? Is there someone I love and haven’t spoken to? I couldn’t believe it was possible to have so many thoughts all at once, just when death was knocking at my door.

After a lot of fuzziness in the ambulance and losing a lot more blood I arrived at the hospital. I was unconscious, had lost a lot of blood and without accessible veins (I had a central line in my neck). They started pumping me with blood. From here on this is not my story, for only my wounded body was there on the surgeon’s table, surrounded by angels who decided they were going to save my life.

About a day later, that felt like a month, I woke up ventilated in the hospital. I moved my right leg, then I moved my left leg. I noticed my parents standing there overwhelmed with joy due to the miracle that had happened to them. I understood that I hadn’t lost my left leg, and thank God for that. And for being in a safe place. Grateful to be alive.

At that point in time, I found out that our dear Eilkin was murdered. Doushi and Eden ran away safely, and my beloved Inbar was abducted by Hamas on an ATV, unconscious, into Gaza. My brain still can’t accept that.

I called my mom to tell her that I loved her, but I would not make it this time.

After fighting for my life for a whole day I was dehydrated and weak. Waiting for my next surgery, not aloud to eat or drink, I felt foggy while receiving blood. Suddenly another angel arrived, Adi. She watered my mouth so I won’t feel so dehydrated and taught me how to breathe on my own again. As soon as I was fully awake, I was taken to another surgery performed by Dr. Topaz, a plastic surgeon, who had developed a unique technique to help the healing of gunshot wounds. The technique involves massive plastic contraptions, metal rods, stitches and direct antibiotic flow under engineered sponges. These were inserted at every place I had been shot, all over my body. I woke up fuzzy, in a lot of pain the morning after the surgery, and I realized that the war to stand up on my own feet again had just begun.

Now I must try to sleep for more than one hour straight. I must stop dreaming about my friend who is no longer with us, or about the Gaza terrorist who shot me three times, or about the cars that exploded right in front of our eyes, or about my friend’s body parts that flew at me in that container, or about the feeling of dying. These thoughts are endless and won’t go away soon. Not my thoughts, nor the thoughts of all the other people who have been through this, or those who were at home and lost many loved ones.

Today I am in a state of gratefulness for being alive, and grateful that some of my friends survived this (unfortunately not many). Many people and rabbis came to see me in the hope of receiving some of the luck that I have had. And so I went from being an innocent 25 year old girl from Haifa to a war victim, who is also a medical miracle. So miraculous that people came to me to get some of my luck.

I would like to thank Ben Uthmani, who received me in the trauma room and stayed with me through my entire hospitalization. Made sure to bring me food, presents, and anything else that could have made my hospitalization better. You are my angel!

I would also like to thank the thousands of volunteers who have visited my ward to hand out food, warm beverages, soaps and other gifts. To the cast of “Eretz Nehederet” and the wonderful Dudu Tassa who came to brighten up even my darkest days. To the whole orthopedic ward at Assuta Ashdod, who took care of me with courage and love. To the head rabbi of the hospital for not letting me forget that I had a miracle and was lucky enough to live a new lease of life. To Kineret, the head of orthopedic ward relations, who was like a second mother to me for a week, I love you so very much.

To my parents who went through this crazy journey with me, which had many sleepless nights and endless worry. To my friends from around the globe who asked about me and came to visit me and make me happy. To the Nova tribe who, even though we have had many victims, still knew how to manage maturely and responsibly throughout this tragedy. They came to visit me every day and called to ask how I was and, of course, sent gifts. Thanks to all my guardian angels who made sure to look out for me from the beginning of the journey, without you I would not be here.

I will end with a little advice to all of you. Our entire country is experiencing post-trauma right now. It is not an experience that any of us should have gone through. We must take care of this problem as soon as possible so it won’t become a bigger problem in the future. A healthy soul in a healthy body. All of us must contact the relevant people and talk about these horrible wounds. I have a list of dozens of professionals in trauma and psychology who are volunteering to help. Make sure you are surrounded by positive people that will lift you up. And focus on the glass half full (even though it is only quarter full) and be grateful for the loved ones who survived.

Thanks to fate, I was reborn on October 7th 2023. Thanks for letting me know how much strength I have in me, and surrounding me. See you at the anniversary of Nova.

Naama G.