The Iron Lions

Testimonials from the war in israel, Oct 23'

Shelly Levaton Barel

Nova Festival

I was at Nova. My husband, Yoav, and I opened our stand there, as well as celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. The Unity festival took place in the same area the night before, so we had our stand then, and continued the following night for the Nova festival. 

We were without sleep for about 30 hours. During the early morning, we started seeing blasts in the sky, and hearing loud booms, like a rain of bombs. I haven’t followed the news for years, and didn’t understand how Yoav didn’t mention there was friction down south. Only later on did I understand this was all a surprise attack. 

It was like a horror movie. I was terrified. We sat on the floor, waiting for it all to be over, and it didn’t end. I have no idea how much time passed, when suddenly I started fearing a missile would drop on us. I told Yoav to start packing up our stand, that we had to get out of there. We started packing it up like crazy, stuffing everything to the car: jewelry, clothes, the stand itself. What usually takes 30 minutes to pack, we packed in ten. We drove away five minutes before the terrorists entered the party. 

On the way to Be’eri there was a huge traffic jam, as if the whole party was headed there. We made a decision that, in hindsight, saved our lives – to turn right. After 10 minutes the people in the traffic jam were all slaughtered by terrorists that came from the direction of Be’eri. 

We kept driving until we came across cars parked at the side of the road and people lying on the floor not moving. Yoav told me to close my eyes and made a fast u-turn. We fled out of there. I thought it was a car accident but Yoav told me it was something much bigger. After two minutes, an update came through on his military WhatsApp group that there had been a terrorist infiltration, and then it was clear we had to flee the terrorists. The Waze app didn’t work, and we had to follow the street signs, so we decided to head towards Ofakim. The road was dusty and empty. The blasts kept coming nonstop, and the booms became louder. One boom almost knocked our car. We sped up to 150 KMH. I feared every car behind us were terrorists.