May 21, 2024

Security Pix Your World

Redefining Vigilance

Israeli festival organizer describes coming face to face with Hamas terrorists

5 min read

Noa Beer had been anticipating the SuperNova X music and arts festival for months, helping organize the party in the Israeli desert. But when the day finally came, what was supposed to have been a celebration of peace turned into a bloodbath. She barely escaped alive.

In the midst of Hamas’ brutal attack Saturday that killed 260 festivalgoers, Beer fled by car. At one point, she was surrounded by gunmen who opened fire.

“They looked in my eyes and they saw terror,” she said by phone.

Her harrowing account comes two days after what she had helped plan as a joyful two-day trance party drew people from around the globe. Scores of videos on social media captured scenes of panic and chaos as festivalgoers fled, with some eyewitnesses saying they hid for hours from gunmen. Others described a traffic jam of cars trying to escape. Drone video later showed cars littering a nearby road, some of them burned-out.

Her story started with a late-night drive. Beer, 29, who helped book DJs for the event, had driven her boss’ car to take a friend, a Hungarian DJ, to the festival. 

“That was one of the biggest lucks of my life,” she said, referring to the sturdy Jeep. Her own car, she said, never would have survived the violent onslaught she would later endure.

SuperNova X music and arts festival organizer Noa Beer.
Noa Beer, one of the SuperNova X music and arts festival organizers.Courtesy Noa Beer

She arrived in time for her friend’s 3:30 a.m. set onstage. The festival was in full swing, with roughly 3,000 people dancing through the night. Once her friend was done, around 6 a.m., they decided to stay and enjoy the party.

“It was a beautiful festival with a great vibe,” she said.

She took her last iPhone video of people dancing at 6:28 a.m.

Things changed just minutes later. The thumping bass of the music was so loud that she and the other festivalgoers couldn’t hear the rockets launched from Gaza that would signal the start of Hamas’ attack — but they could see them.

Beer said her friend told her to look up to see the rockets as they traced through the early morning sky.

“It looked like fireworks,” she said.

She and her friends assumed it was the kind of routine rocket fire that they’ve become accustomed to, particularly with the event taking place just a few miles east of the Gaza Strip. But security guards entered the dance floor, and an announcement was made telling people to leave quickly.

As people began to move to the exits, Beer and her friend went to their car, which was close by in the VIP parking area. She said their decision to leave quickly may have saved their lives. 

The imminent danger wasn’t yet apparent to all. She offered a ride to a group of friends walking to their car. They declined.

“Later they came out alive, but they had to hide for hours,” she said.

Beer pulled onto a road heading east with her friend in the passenger seat. Unbeknownst to her, what appeared to be dozens of Hamas militants had descended on the festival. As she was driving, she began to hear gunshots and explosions.

Panic began to set in.

“There were only two cars ahead of me, and they crashed into each other,” she said. “I saw a motorcycle in the road, and someone was lying on the ground.”

She thought it might have been an accident until she saw that the motorcyclist had been shot.

“I opened the car door, and the first thing I hear is bullets flying by my door, and I told the DJ to get out of the car and hide behind the car door,” she said.

She initially thought the shooters were Israeli soldiers firing at terrorists, but she quickly realized she was under attack.

“I understood they were terrorists and we were completely surrounded,” she said. “At this point I thought I was going to die.”

She saw people crawling on the ground toward her, and she got three of them in the back seat of the car and tried to pull away. She revved the car as she worked to release the parking brake with bullets flying around her. 

Beer had driven into an ambush.

“I reversed and turned on the spot. Then I saw something out of a horror show — I saw cars coming towards us, but the drivers were shot,” she said. 

Hamas militants nearby were shooting into the vehicles of people trying to flee the festival. Those cars with bloodied dead and wounded drivers ran off the road or crashed into other cars.

“I saw two terrorists waiting for me to drive, so I just stepped on the gas,” she said.

She described two men’s shooting at her car for six straight seconds.

“They looked me in the eyes. They saw terror, and they gave zero s—s about it,” she said. 

Twisting around to look in the back seat, she saw that two of the strangers she had pulled into her car had been shot.

“I started driving east, and I called another organizer. I said, ‘Don’t let anyone go west,’” she said.

“I called an ambulance, and they said you have to stop on the side, and I said, ‘No way I’m stopping.’” 

She drove straight to a nearby hospital to get her wounded passengers medical attention. They all survived.

The chaos continued in the emergency room — both inside and out. At the hospital, they could hear explosions.

“People coming in killed, wounded — parents looking for their children,” she said “There were bombs all around us outside, so we couldn’t leave for a few hours.”

Reflecting on the peaceful party she had helped put together, she’s distraught by the horror she witnessed.

“This is a community of peace and love. No one in this community had anything to do with politics or the army. These are such peaceful parties and are so welcoming,” she said.

She described the victims in their vulnerable state: “People defenseless, in an open field … and murderous people came and took their lives.”

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