At 6:30 AM, I’m with friends in the parking lot outside of the party. We planned to go out to drink and come back in. I’m looking at the sky and seeing one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen…and then, lights in the sky. For a moment, I didn’t understand…until I did.
Tens of missiles and interceptions over our heads. We realized that the party was over and there were going to be masses of people exiting the party. A stressful experience, but in the surreal reality that we live in, it’s an “understandable” experience. With that said, I don’t think that anyone could have guessed what kind of an event we were facing.
We quickly packed up our camp, and the guys split up. I was in a friend’s car, and she was driving. I had a bad feeling, and I just wanted to get out of there. I looked at the security guards and saw that they had no clue what to do. One of them suggested that we drive towards Beit Kama, so that’s the address we put in our Waze app.
We exited the packed parking lot and turned right. We drove for 30 seconds until we saw a bullet-pierced car driving in the opposite direction and masses of people running towards the bomb shelter at the side of the road.
We stopped the car in the middle of the road and entered one of the shelters. There were about 40-50 people packed together. People were scared. A grenade was most likely thrown into this shelter later, and everyone who was there was slaughtered, so this was our fate if we were to stay there.
After a minute or two I told my friend that there was no chance that we were staying there and I took the car keys and ran with her back to the car. We heard gunshots outside. I started the car, turned around, and drove the other way. I drove for about 500 meters until the road was blocked by all the other cars trying to get out. We saw more bullet-pierced cars coming back from where we came from, and bleeding people signaling other people that are still leaving the party to turn right.
We left the car. I left it there, and we just ran, first on the road and then to the fields. In the background, I heard gunshots and confused people. We didn’t really know what direction we were running to, I simply saw people running and not being shot at, so I followed them.
We tried to navigate in the open fields. Every time we heard gunshots, we ran in the opposite direction. We were about 300-400 people, a real exodus.
We walked and ran for about 20 kilometers, until we arrived in the Patish neighborhood, explosions over our heads and terrorists behind us. The missiles didn’t even bother us because we simply were looking around, making sure we weren’t being attacked by a terrorist.
While fleeing, we got many calls from friends and family who were concerned for our safety, trying to figure out where we were and advising us what to do.
At a certain point, I put the phone on silent mode and said I would rather know as little as possible about the situation in the country. I prefer that our worried family and friends would know as little as possible until we were safe.
I realized that we were on our own; my thoughts at that moment were that there is no state right now, and we were in an Armageddon. Who will come for us now?
We knew that there were terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri and other places in the area. So we mainly trusted our gut. People were panicked, with high adrenaline, and stressing each other out, trying to decide whether to stay, hide, or keep walking. Every little noise puts you on alert and makes you paranoid. Every bit of info affects our next decision, if and where to go.
We just kept on walking, until we got to a greenhouse area that we were told we should hide in. Some stayed there, but most of us kept on walking. After about 3 hours, we saw Israeli cars, probably people from Patish. They came to tell us to keep on walking on this route and that it was safe there.
We arrived after 4 hours. They welcomed us, and gave us water and food, like war refugees. After a super stressful hour or an hour and a half, everybody was confused and mainly shocked and just starting to understand what had happened.
We boarded a bus that was sent to Be’er Sheva, and from there, we got a ride straight home with a father (an angel) of one of the girls at the party. The whole way, I was thinking about friends I hadn’t made contact with yet, about what happened to us, and about the surreal stories told by other people.
You begin to realize that this is a historic event, that you are in the middle of it, and the whole country is talking about only that. You just try to figure out how to make it out alive.
It was only the day after that I realized I had sprained my ankle and that I had some more dry wounds on my legs and cuts on my arm. But all of this is nothing compared to the guys who were slaughtered there, or worse, kidnapped, among them so many friends and friends of friends.
My soul doesn’t know whether it should deal with what I just experienced or what my friends from the party who didn’t come back went through, and the families that were massacred and the innocent people who got kidnapped. Only God knows what is going on with them.