Amir Ben Natan, 37, is a stock trader from Herzliya who attended the psytrance Universo Paralello rave – titled Supernova Sukkot – near the Gaza Strip on the morning of October 7, 2023. He was separated from his friends as missiles and bullets rained down and hundreds of festivalgoers were murdered or captured by the Islamist militant group Hamas. One of his friends was shot, but survived. Ben Natan hid in the bushes as he heard the voices of Hamas fighters just steps away. Speaking to Rolling Stone, he described running for his life amid the terrifying “total chaos.”
I love this type of music and was excited to see a couple acts in particular: Spectra Sonics, a Japanese producer and Protonica, a German producer. I was at the party with my friends, dancing, having fun when suddenly we heard an alarm. They stopped the music and said there were rockets from Gaza. They said the party was over and we should go out. We weren’t really panicked at first. Sadly, that is life in Israel in this region.
We went outside where there was a line of cars. We thought it would be safer to wait until the cars moved. We didn’t want to be trapped inside a car where we couldn’t see a rocket coming. We didn’t take it too seriously at first.
About 30 minutes later, we went inside our car, but after a few minutes, people started to get out and run. We also ran. We didn’t see or hear anything yet, so we were asking if anyone knows anything. We thought it was just panic. We got back into the car, and it was the same story again. We heard someone saying his friend’s car got shot. We weren’t really understanding. We thought if something happened, it was a single incident. We couldn’t imagine so many terrorists around us who had invaded Israel.
We fought to drive away, then people started to run from their cars once again, but they were really panicked this time. It was really happening. I started to run, and I lost my friends. I ran in one direction, but someone said the terrorists were coming from that direction. I just ran with all my power for three or four minutes, until I just couldn’t continue. My legs couldn’t take me anymore. I was completely out of breath. I stopped to look around, then I continued to run. I arrived to the field where I later saw the videos of the people who got massacred. Luckily, I decided not to run into that field. I didn’t know where it was leading and it had nowhere to hide.
I saw a bush to the left side. I got into the bush and hid in there with a few other people for maybe one hour or so. At some point, a policeman from Israel arrived and told us to move away from there. We went outside from the bush, and I saw a girl lying on the road. At first I thought she must be trying to duck down and not get hit by the bullets, but on second thought, I believe she was murdered. I continued about 200 meters, but I could tell it wasn’t safe. I went into another bush where I was hiding with about 10 people. It was a big bush. We were there for two or three hours. It was a war outside. I had served in the army, but I never heard such things. Bullets, missiles, grenades.
It was total chaos. Total chaos.
At some point, there was silence, and I heard voices speaking Arabic nearby. I believe they were pretty close, like 20 meters away. I started to think I was going to die. Or maybe kidnapped. I wondered, which is better? I’m not a religious person, but I found myself just praying to God a lot. I prayed to stay alive. I just wanted to come home and hug my mom.
Luckily, they didn’t discover us. After a while, one of the guys hiding with me ventured out, and an Israeli soldier shouted at him and directed us to join some other police forces and other survivors down the road.
At some point, they started to drive us to a police station in [nearby city] Ofakim. We were there for a few hours and actually, I didn’t feel safe there either. They said the terrorists were in this town too. There were still alarms, meaning rockets being shot in the area. We needed to go into the shelter, but a policeman said maybe it’s a trap. We might go into the shelter and the terrorists might go into the police station then. We thought it was better to try to escape from there.
I realized some parents of some of the people at the festival had succeeded in reaching the station even though the roads were blocked. They were determined to get their children. At some point, I just went to the gate there to try to figure out how to get back home. Someone offered survivors like me a ride whenever we wanted. Thanks to them, I finally got home.
The friends who were with me luckily survived too, but one of my friends got shot in the back. He told me he didn’t realize he got shot until he was safe. He was with his wife. Both of them were shot at. A girl hiding with them was murdered in front of them.
This was a nightmare. Shocking. I couldn’t dream in my worst nightmare something like this. I know in Israel, there are terror attacks once in a while. But this was an army of attackers. This is why it took us so much time to understand. We couldn’t imagine that hundreds of terrorists could invade Israel like this. I feel like I was hunted. They tried to kill me. Not just me, everyone at the festival. We were helpless. We were unarmed civilians who just wanted to have fun.