So I was there too, another one of many stories of fear and horror, a nightmare that you cannot wake up from. Some ironically called it a “bad trip.” We got to the party at night, I noticed the sign “Eshkol Regional Council”. I asked my significant other if this was the area where missiles usually attacked. Then I understood that we were near a particularly uninviting area. But we were already there, and it was a quiet period so we had arrived to make our own “noise.” A noise of joy and love.
We were amused by how this time we managed to get out “on time” and how nice and fun it was to come without any extra pressure. We set up our tent at exactly the point where everyone else had run away quickly when the events unfolded. We met a dear friend who insisted on hugging us long and strong, and it was almost weird; it was as if he knew this might be the last chance. We promised him that we would come back to him, but we didn’t have time. Until now, he is still missing like many, many others for whom the entire nation of Israel prays for their safety.
So we joked around a little bit and danced a little until, with one boom, the music literally stopped. There are sirens, “Red Alerts”, and missiles in the sky in amounts mimicking fireworks – it looked like a festival, but not this time, not on this ground. At this point, not everyone had yet rushed to leave the area, because “there are always missiles.” Even some of the security personnel insisted and said, “It’s better for you here than in the parking lot than in the cars themselves. It’s more dangerous, especially during travel”. But we are from the center of Israel, and we have a long way to go, so it’s better to leave now because what if the situation gets worse?! We looked for the car amidst the commotion, packed up our stuff, and started driving, or so we thought. It’s congested on the right, and on the left, nothing moves, and everyone is stuck. Then the next thing we heard, made our hearts drop, and our legs freeze, “Get out of the cars, it doesn’t matter where you go, terrorists are shooting at us from every side, just run and pray”. You can’t digest what is being said and then you hear bursts of gunfire that don’t stop, and then we find a wounded, bleeding, helpless policeman who just sends us on our way but he himself doesn’t know where to go, only to endless fields and orchards and from there it’s you, the terrorists and God.
And then 6 hours of non-stop running, barefoot, you don’t care about anything except to survive, survive, survive. And you discover how many emotional and physical hurdles you can overcome in the moment of survival! Like a sheep being sent to be slaughtered, you are confused, running in every direction, using Google Maps to maybe find the right direction. Maybe it’s better over there? But as you get closer, you hear the shots of the snipers get closer and closer. And above you is a rainbow of missiles and how nice and comforting that they always fall in open areas, and it’s exactly here, where we are. So you hide among bushes, greenhouses, and all kinds of structures, so thirsty for water that you drink from a jerry can thinking you found water but no! You drank something horrible. And in between, you pray that you stick to the right people and places just so that they don’t reach us, just so that they don’t catch us. And there are no answers or responses from any security forces, and only then do you realize that you freaking got caught in the toughest ambush the country ever faced while you are naked in front of them. So with sorrow and mourning, you say goodbye to your family with a message that you may not get out of this- wishing them to be happy no matter what, that you will always be with them in their hearts, and that there will be a grandchild named Ido because, for you, that’s always been the name.
Then for an uncertain moment, some friends mentioned that there was a cop in the cactus area. Yes, only one, but finally, some kind of breath of fresh air, and I insist on trying to get to them because I have a cactus tattoo, and when asked, “Why a cactus?”, I answer, “Because a cactus survives everything.”
We must get to them, no matter what; I want a policeman with us. His name is Igor, and he did the best he could, but he was still one guy against many. Igor managed to make contact with the residents of the Patish community and then an angel came to us in a light blue shirt and a pickup truck and rescued us from hell to paradise. Those who know me, know that I’m a scaredy cat and you know what a close friend recently said? “One day, Moran’s anxieties will save us.”
So thank you to the love of my life, my soul, and to everyone who was at the right place at the right time. Thank you to the Patish community for caring and encompassing us! Hugs, kisses, and prayers for all the missing and kidnapped, praying they return home to us. My heart goes out to you. Some of us have already experienced a miracle, but without a doubt, it is coming your way too, and it will also reach you. And the next tattoo – it’s Moana, a barefoot heroine.