'Nobody noticed them until it was too late': Woman flees Israeli rave under attack by Hamas as hundreds murdered, kidnapped

The promise of the new day had only just begun to peek up from the flat horizon of mostly sand. The decor was spare. The draw was the exclusivity of the invite. This was not a houseparty. This was a sprawling dance party across the Bedouin sands near Kibbutz Re’im and a 10 minute drive to Gaza in the South of Israel. 

Everyone in attendance was invited—this was not the kind of party you’d crash, If you were lucky to know a guy who knew a guy who might get you on the invite list, you wouldn't know the address until the night of. With a few hours until the party was set to start, a phone number would be activated which invitees would then call to hear a recording of an address. On the night of October 7, the voice gave attendees directions to get to the party. 

Sunlight was just starting to peak over the flat horizon of the sprawling desert all-night nature party near Kibbutz Re’im close to the Gaza Strip as terrorists made their way toward the party.

It is unclear if Hamas knew that the party was planned for the early morning of October 7, 2023 or that there would be close to one thousand twenty-somethings dancing in the glints of the rising sun.

It is, however, very clear that the giddy partygoers were unaware of the fast approaching vehicles carrying members of the Muslim extremist group Hamas or the M-16s they were cradling.

And so Reva, 26, continued dancing as she had been all night.

“It wasn’t until the first shots and screams that people began to realize something was wrong I think. Nobody noticed them until it was too late. They were right there with us," she told Human Events.

“The music didn’t stop right away—I looked at the crowd and some people were still dancing," Reva remembers this over the phone. "There were so many of us and we’d been up all night. Like, I have this memory of knowing I was hearing gunshots really close to me but there was this split second where I almost tried to convince myself it was just part of the set.”

Reva had been going to underground “nature parties” for years. Sometimes held in glitzy mansions in Tel Aviv, sometimes on an expansive swath of sand swept Bedouin land like this one. This was not a walk-in event. Invites were mandatory. 

Reva explains, “Once you’re on the list you have to wait till a few hours before the party starts. Then you call a number. There’s a recording. It gives you directions for where the party is and how to get there. So you don’t know until right before. No one knows where it’s going to be until you get the address or directions. Like this we were able to change locations every time so we wouldn’t have trouble with police or soldiers at checkpoints that might notice us.”

This particular party was produced by NOVA and was in celebration of Shemini Atzeret which means the “Eighth Day of Assembly” and immediately follows the seven-day festival of Sukkot.

It was a sprawling dance party near Kibbutz Re’im and a quick drive to Gaza in the South of Israel. 

Reva understandably jumps around when trying to explain what happened.

“I can’t remember when I knew I had to start getting away," she said. "I was on my tip toes trying to see over peoples’ heads. I kept hearing the shots but I didn't see anyone shooting. Then I heard a really loud scream, a girl. Then either the speakers cut or the music stopped so it was easier to hear the pops. I heard a man yell 'Yalla, Yalla' and more screaming.”

Reva struggles with her thoughts,

“I just started running to my car. I saw other people running so I did too. It was parked far from the actual party, which was weird. The entire parking area was far away for everyone. I don’t know how I got to the car. But I remember slamming the door shut and looking out the window because—my friends, I drove two friends and I couldn’t see them. I waited in the car for them.

"I sat there staring and there were so many more shots from everywhere—I saw people with so much blood. And I looked out the mirror and I saw a man put a gun up to someone’s head and I looked away…I did wait for them. I waited for them…”

Reva trails off.

Reva was one of about a thousand partygoers on October 7 who went to an outdoor dance party in Israel, where she was born. She had fun with her friends until the sun came up. 

And then a group of men, members of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, entered the area and began shooting bullets into the bodies all around her. They came over ground and by air.

Reva saw a group of girls she danced with earlier in the night on the road while she was trying to get to her car. Two were bleeding and the third was kneeling over them trying to push down to make the blood stop on both. 

“I didn’t stop to help them, once the crowd thinned out you could see the men with the guns. They were spread out and shooting from all different directions. I was scared. I hate blood. I was scared and I didn’t understand what this was. La ma?” She screamed into the phone.

She paused again, blowing her nose away from the phone, and let out a noise that is a mixture of animal rage and a mind that has come apart. In between sips of tea, she tells me she met a guy she maybe liked. They sat under the night sky and toasted each other. They’d agreed to exchange contact info before the party ended. She saw him again during the night and waved. He waved back. 

She didn’t see him again after that. 

“Maybe he’s still hiding. They said there’s still people out there hiding right? In the desert?” 

Official reports are still not clear. There were about a thousand attendees at the party. According to news sources in Israel about 200 were killed. Another 250 were kidnapped. A portion ran terrified into the desert. Some have not come back. 

And then there’s people who survived and got back to the safety of their homes, like Reva.

“It took me until 7:30 pm to get home because of all the attacks that started. Everything they did. Animals. There were checkpoints. Roads were blocked. I didn’t care how long it took—I would have waited in that car for days. I wanted my home.”

She is still clearly in shock but vehemently insists she wants to talk about what she saw. The ethical aspects do not go unnoticed. Over the course of two long phone calls, Reva told a story that doesn’t always match the way the events occurred.

Reva remembers only shots at the party for the first 10 to 15 minutes. She remembers the noise of the barrage of the over 5,000 rockets that Hamas would launch over the next hours—she remembers it as “first I hear the shots, then the music stops, then 'Yalla,' then screaming, then more shots then the big noises, the rockets. I am Israeli—you don’t think I know the difference?” She laughed softly.

Reva remembered the vehicles driven by Hamas being “like military." She is stuck on why these men came to the party, especially given the fact that guests were given the location only hours before.

Reva says she remembers people around her screaming that their phones had suddenly stopped working. When asked if this could be because of the remote location she quickly counters, “No, there were people on the phone with police around me right when the shooting started. Then suddenly everybody’s calls dropped. How does this make sense?”

She says she saw people in uniform at the party, “First I thought IDF but I was dancing you know? I didn’t stop to look close. But I saw another uniform when I was going to my car—when I was running. But again, I couldn’t stop to look close.”

To press her on these statements does not seem right. At least not today. Perhaps it would be best to let her process her thoughts and memories at her own pace. 

The current numbers of those who were murdered, kidnapped, injured, or are missing is near impossible to keep up with. Reports of families searching for their missing sons and daughters, as well as reports identifying some of those lost to Hamas' violence, have emerged on social media.

Parts of Israel have been taken over by Hamas, entire towns in which family homes are invaded at gunpoint and held hostage. Communities, cities and military bases in the south are still struggling against the Islamic terrorists as Israeli Defense Forces were deployed to the area. Security officials say it will take days before all of them are back under their control and perhaps weeks before the open areas near the Gaza border and in the northern Desert are confirmed to be without terror squads. By Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war.

As of this writing, many people have been informed that they must shelter in place for now

They cannot go to work and they must continue to run to bomb shelters or basements everytime the alarm sounds.

Neighbors talk about Hamas having spread further into the interior of Israel while some have claimed they have begun donning police and military uniforms to blend into communities. 

Image: Title: rave escape


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