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It was a game of hide and seek between us and the terrorists

Yes, that’s me, with the hat. I thought a lot about whether to write something, it is impossible to explain…

It was a game of hide and seek between us and the terrorists

Yes, that’s me, with the hat.

I thought a lot about whether to write something, it is impossible to explain the pain, my heart is shattered into pieces, life will not be the same, life without so many people I love, who are no longer with me.

I’ll start by saying that I’m “fine”.

My heart will be whole again when my friends return to me. And when my main question of “Where are they?” is answered.

My story started at sunrise when my friend lifted me on her shoulders and suddenly we started seeing rockets and hearing interceptions from Iron Dome. The music stopped and they told us “Friends, this is not a joke, and not a dream there is an attack, lie down on the floor.”

I remember that at this point, we were telling ourselves, “Everything is fine, the music will come back”. I thought I was a hero and we “went” back to our tents to fold our things. Slowly, slowly the reality of the situation became clearer and we realized that bombs were raining down on us and we needed to escape. I had a panic attack on the way to the car, my knees buckled, my body stiffened up and I couldn’t breathe.

My friends were around me the whole time and, to their credit, they brought me back to reality. At this point, we were receiving reports that there were terrorists outside the party and those who try to leave will be shot outside. People started running, cars kept driving by. Nobody really understood what was going on and the police said the place was surrounded by terrorists and the army, and it was better not to go out.

We hear gunshots, but we think it’s the army, we still don’t understand what’s happening outside. We returned back to the party area. People led me to the area where the event security police were. I was met by a woman named Yamit, a border guard, who assured me that everything would be fine. I called my mother to say that I love her and that I don’t know if I will get out of this.

A few minutes later, we heard screams that the terrorists had penetrated inside, screams of gunshot wounds, and people falling left and right, and then the nightmare began.

I start to see bullets, I hear them hitting close by me, and coming from everywhere, all the time. It was a game of hide and seek between us and the terrorists. They created a bottleneck and shot from every direction, we didn’t see them, and it was impossible to understand where they were shooting from, we just saw people falling.

It is impossible to explain in words the fear, the helplessness, the realization that this is where my life ends.

My main frustration was seeing the “Cleaning Crew” for the party with their yellow vests, continue to clean up the party. They walked among us, casually, as if they were on their way to get groceries, and I think they knew from the beginning what was going to happen.

At first, we hid in the tent area, we tried to think of where else we could run, and we ran towards our car. In the car, it was me, Kate, Lina, and another guy who asked to join because he had no way to drive out of there. We started to drive and looked for more vehicles, we were among the last ones left in the parking lot. In retrospect, we would understand why.

We drove behind a black vehicle that led us to a squad of terrorists on ATVs, Kate managed to make a U-turn and get away, while someone in a van threw, out their window, an explosive device at us.

After we managed to get onto another path, they started shooting at us from all directions while we were driving, our goal was to get to a highway. We turned right at an intersection and were able to go towards road 232, which was the exitway from the party. At the exit, Terrorists fired at us with their FN MAG rifles.

We saw bodies in all the cars, bodies on the ground and we had no choice but to run them over and continue fleeing for our lives.

Further on, we saw that the terrorists had blockaded the road, so Kate broke right and we drove off-road, the car almost flipped twice but thanks to Kate’s driving we were saved. We realized that the car was destroyed, but that we were alive, and not a single bullet hit us, only the wheels and the car had been hit by bullets.

We left the vehicle and hid, for 7 hours with half a bottle of water, behind a thorn bush. For 7 hours we heard the whistles of the bullets, saw their impact in the sand, heard the bombs, the rockets.

For seven hours we were inside a battlefield, our position was between Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Re’im. We called the police and every possible rescue force and they all hung up on us. No one came to rescue us, no one heard us. Later we were told that the security service knew about the location but the place was surrounded by terrorists and it was impossible to approach the area.

After four and a half hours, Arabs found us, they were armed. The guy who was with us immediately stood up to them so that they wouldn’t notice us. He spoke to them in Arabic and they asked for our water and our cigarettes and then left. Two minutes later, we heard our car start and drive away – they stole our car.

After seven hours of us lying there dehydrated, scared, praying to God that someone would come to save us, a guy named Elad Lauper rang Kate’s phone.

I took the phone and cried to him, I was begging, I had never begged like this, for him to come. He told me to stay on the line and that he was on his way. He got us out of there, while the whole area was packed with terrorists, still with his van and another guy whose name I don’t know. They got us out.

He gave us water and told us to keep our heads down, not to look outside, and not to look at the bodies.

He dropped us off at the assembly grounds, where they took us by bus to Be’er Sheva where my father was waiting for me.

And here the story ends.

Rotem Y.