Exclusive: ‘We Pretended to be Dead, but They Found Us and Then…,’ Israel Music Fest Survivor Recounts Horror


Israel is in tatters at present. Hamas militants infiltrated Israeli towns and launched missiles, reportedly resulting in the death of hundreds of innocent people. In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “murderous.”

The worst of the attacks, perhaps, was launched at a music festival in Israel. The party descended into chaos when the terrorists attacked the site, killing at least 260 people and abducting many more. Thousands of people attended the party, near Kibbutz Re’im close to Gaza. Palestinian gunmen attacked the site and shot people down as they tried to escape.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Hindustan Times spoke with Mary (name changed due to safety reasons), a woman who escaped death at a time when she thought no hope was left. Mary was at the rave, working at a bar with her girlfriend Linda (name changed), when the attack took place.

“There was an amazing sunrise, and we were just walking towards the trailer to sit and drink coffee and rest, when the rocket attack started. The music stopped,” Mary recalled.

‘Police told us to pray and run’

“A friend called me and told me that they were being shot, and Linda and I ran to the police for help. Moments later, we realised it was a terrorist attack. We hid in the police hideout. Everyone sat on the floor, some cried, some shouted, some had anxiety attacks, and others just sat silently,” she said.

Mary recalled how the police, looking frightened, told them to “pray and run.” They ran to the field as shots continued to be fired from all directions. Amid the chaos, Mary lost touch with Linda.

‘We pretended to be dead, but they found us’

“We started running and saw a vehicle approaching, it was one of the people from the party and he told us to get in with him because he was going to the highway and we needed to escape quickly. We got into his car, and he drove to the road, when terrorists began shooting at us,” Mary said.

The vehicle got stuck in the sand, and only Mary and another man remained there. “I told him, “You know the stories from the Holocaust where people pretended to be dead so they wouldn’t be noticed? That is what we need to do.” He covered us with sand, and we were in silence for about an hour until we started hearing footsteps approaching. They found us, eight of the terrorists,” Mary said.

“I closed my eyes because I thought they would shoot us, but they lifted us out of the pit, took our phones and everything we had in our pockets, and announced to the others, “We have two more kidnapped”,” she recalled.

Mary said one of the terrorists spoke to her in Arabic, and she told him she did not understand the language. Surprisingly, he put his jacket on her when all the others looked at her as if she was “a piece of meat” – she was wearing a tank top.

“The guy who was with me begged for his life and cried. I told him, “Don’t cry, it will make them angry. Everything will be fine”

Some of the terrorists had knives, some had hammers. The guy dropped to his knees, screamed, cried, and begged for his life. They murdered him right before my eyes,” Mary recalled.

‘I lay under the stage next to three corpses’

“I was left alone with the terrorists. One of them approached me with a board and gave me several blows on the head to humiliate me, another held a knife and threatened me every few seconds. However, the terrorist who gave me his jacket shouted at them and took me under his wing,” she added.

Mary said that they continued walking, surrounded by “hundreds of bodies and lots of blood.” “If you try to run away, I will kill you just like I killed your friend,” one of the men threatened her.

“As I stood at one place, the terrorist who gave me his jacket told me to “go.” I started running for my life,” Mary recalled.

“I lay under the stage next to three corpses, and I covered my face with blood. I lay as though I was dead, for the longest three hours of my life. I saw the terrorists shooting, missiles flying,” she continued.

Mary was eventually rescued by authorities. “There were injuries and sights around me that I could never describe,” she said.

‘They murdered my soul’

Her girlfriend Linda was tragically murdered, a devastated Mary said. “They murdered my soul and I hope I will be able to heal one day, but they murdered my girlfriend, my Linda, my heroine and no one will ever be able to return her to me in my lifetime,” she concluded.

Several videos from the site went viral on social media, one of them showing militants abducting a young woman, Noa Argamani, taking her away on the back of a motorcycle as she screamed for help. The men were seen restraining her boyfriend, Avinatan Or. He was seen being made to walk with his hands held behind his back. They are being considered two of several Israelis who are believed to be held captive in Gaza at present.

Source: Hindustan Times