"We lay on the ground and played dead. A terrorist trod on us and shot us to make sure we were dead," recalls Adi Naveh who survived the horrors of the festival in Re'im, where hundreds were killed at the beginning of the surprise Hamas attack on Saturday morning. "Miraculously, they hit my hair and between my husband's legs. I saw dozens murdered and people burned inside their cars. I kept worrying about who would take care of our three young children and prayed to my late mother to save us."
Adi, originally from Kfar Harutzim, lives in Tel Mond with her husband, Itzik, and their three children (10, 9 and 3.) She went to the festival with her husband. Her younger brother, Yakir, was also there. Her older brother, Aviram, had already canceled going to the festival before the terrorist attack. Her sister, Tohar, was on her way with her boyfriend on Saturday morning. They stopped to pick up a friend and then received a phone call telling them about the shooting and that they shouldn’t come.
"We saw rockets in the sky. Hundreds of rockets"
Subdued and crying, Adi recounts the sequence of events. “We set out to the festival at about two in the morning and we got there at four. Until 6:30, we were happy, dancing and partying. At about 6:30 we suddenly saw rockets in the sky. Hundreds of rockets. Judging by the ring of smoke, we realized they were firing from close by. They then turned off the music and told everyone to drive off. In the meantime, we were lying on the ground as thousands of rockets flew overhead.“
“We got in the car and fled. We were being shot at. We went into a field where there was a cemetery. They were shooting at us there too. We carried on. Then, on the road to Kibbutz Be’eri, they were firing at all the cars. It was a massacre. I could see a firing squad and I felt like a sitting duck in a firing range. A bullet hit the car tire and the car exploded. We were thrown into a ditch and we then ran about 50 feet and hid behind a bush.”
“My husband covered me with leaves and a burnt tire and we prayed. My head was facing the road and I could see everything. I saw them abducting three girls into vans and one onto a motorbike. I saw them making sure they’d killed people in cars, and setting fire to cars with people alive inside. I saw a teenage boy - he looked really young – constantly shooting his Uzi at anyone escaping.“
“We played dead. A terrorist trod on my head, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and then shot and hit my hair. Miraculously, he didn’t hit me. He trod on my husband and shot between his legs. There were hundreds of them. They shot anyone passing. They shot at our bush. They missed and laughed ‘Allahu Akbar’, and missed again.“
"We played dead. A terrorist trod on my head, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and then shot and hit my hair. Miraculously, he didn’t hit me. He trod on my husband and shot between his legs. There were hundreds of them. They shot anyone passing"
“My face was on the ground. I was ingesting earth and we had ants all over us. Out of fear, I think I passed out and came round a few times. We were holding each other tightly the whole time and all I was saying was ‘Hush, quiet, don’t breathe, they’re here’.”
Adi adds “Four and a half hours later, I heard the army. I heard something like ‘Biton, Biton’. I ran to them and my husband ran behind me. They arrested and cuffed him thinking he was a terrorist. I shouted, explaining that he was my husband. They took his ID card and then released him. He didn’t care. He just said ‘Take me, tie me up, just get me out of here.‘ The soldiers put him us a mobile shelter. We were there for an hour and then the soldiers took us onto an army jeep which was wide open. There were dead bodies strewn across the road. They let us off at an ambulance and we were taken to Barzilai Hospital, although we weren’t injured.“
"I just want my sanity back"
Adi tells us what she’s been going through since her rescue. “I’m home, exhausted and on tranquilizers. I just want my sanity back. There’s nothing as evil as this. I’ve never seen a horror movie like this. I’m a 39-year-old mother of three children who could have been orphaned. Who’d raise them for me? My younger brother, Yakir, was also at the festival. It was a matter of seconds. I was sure he’d been murdered, but he managed to by-pass the terrorists through the fields. When everyone ran left, he ran right. That’s how his life was saved. As we were lying in the bushes, I cried for my brother and about who would raise my little, orphaned children. I called out to my mother who died four years ago. ‘Help Me’.”
"Four and a half hours later, I heard the army. I heard something like ‘Biton, Biton’. I ran to them and my husband ran behind me. They arrested and cuffed him thinking he was a terrorist. I shouted, explaining that he was my husband"
Adi says that her phone remained in the car. “We can still see the phone in Gaza. At home, I’m like a ghost. It’s like I’m dead. I can’t believe we survived. We should have died two hundred times over. I can’t get the pictures out of my mind. The teenager who looked like a little boy, shooting at me with an army Uzi and a bullet-proof vest. He was just a boy. He closed his eyes as he was shooting us. I saw lots of people injured from the shooting. We walked among the cars and we saw bodies that had been thrown out of the car windows. We’re not heroes. The people who died are the heroes.“