The Festival producer’s testimony to Adnkronos: “I remained hidden for hours in the van, outside I saw a scene from the Holocaust”
He would have ”preferred to dierather than being captured and taken as a hostage to the Gaza Strip, because what they do to the kidnapped people there is worse than death. Especially as a woman”. Laura Kadar Blajman, an Israeli-French citizen who survived the October 7 massacre, has no doubts and says she found the strength to speak to Adnkronos after seeing the video circulated by the Islamic Jihad of Yagil Yaacov, the 12-year-old boy kidnapped just over a month ago.
”He looks a lot like my nephew, he could have been in the hands of the kidnappers”, he says, admitting the ”difficulty in speaking”, but ”our hearts go out to the hostages in Gaza” And ”the world must understand that we cannot stop until we bring them home”. Because ”it is not the first time that Hamas has hit us, but every time it is worse. And we cannot allow the next time to be something similar”. Those we are experiencing, he states, ”are truly difficult days for everyone, even for the population of Gaza, who we must free from Hamas, which is the cause of everything”. And ”in the end there will be two winners, Israelis and Palestinians”.
She, who remembers that she was in the Israeli army when Gilad Shalit was freed, today organizes musical events. Last October 5th and 6th, in the same place where it took place the ‘Supernova’ rave attacked by Hamas in the Negev desert, together with her husband she had organized the ‘Unity Festival’. A few hours and it would have been her, Festival’s, that would have been transformed into carnage. Because that place, so close to the Gaza Strip, was not considered particularly dangerous for the Israelis. ”Israel is very small as a country, we always live close to something” that is potentially unsafe, she explains.
That day, the producer had ”removed all the setups” of the ‘Unity Festival’ and decided to stay for the ‘Supernova’ too, together with her husband and friends, including the ”father with his disabled daughter who came every year to the Festival and who were found lifeless after the Hamas massacre”. With her husband and five friends, she managed to survive ”hidden for six hours in the van”, thinking several times of dying, while Hamas militiamen repeatedly tried to enter.
”They tried to open the door of the van, they shot at it, they tried to set it on fire by dousing it with liquid,” he says. And in the end, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) arrived, she came out and ”I saw death. It was all strewn with corpses. It looked like a movie about the Holocaust, but it wasn’t. Because the victims were all young, colorful, dressed to the nines… There was no snow, but the sun, it wasn’t winter”. It is ”difficult to describe what I saw, they shot the victims in the head to make sure they died”. Hamas men ”also killed Muslims. Because even if they could recite a verse from the Koran as required, they were accused of ‘walking with the Jews”.
At the beginning ”we thought of an attack with missiles and rockets like many we are used to, it certainly wasn’t the first time”, but ”they warned us that there were terrorists shooting everywhere. We started to run away and, since I was a captain in the army, I understood that the problem was not the rockets, but the automatic weapons. We wouldn’t have had a chance”. Once we entered the van, ”after thirty seconds we heard the Hamas terrorists shouting ‘Allah Akhbar’, we heard people crying, running away everywhere, we heard the shots”. After that, ”silence and a lot of fear”. Until ”we heard the terrorists again, who twice tried to open the door of the van, without success”. They also ”looked inside, but then they saw someone outside, alive, they shot him”.
But ”they also shot at the van, twice, once near where my husband was. I had the sensation of losing consciousness, then we again heard the terrorists outside singing, shouting, driving the car in circles”. The nightmare continues, ”my husband who understands Arabic heard the terrorists saying there were people inside the van. We thought our end had come”. At that point the producer sent a message to ”a friend in the army to tell him that it was over and to send a thought to our parents. I looked at my husband, we couldn’t touch each other, but we told each other that we loved each other. Then I closed my eyes and waited to die”.
There were so many thoughts in my head in those endless moments. ”I was afraid that my husband would be the first to die because he was near the door, I didn’t want to survive him. I wanted to die with him, I just hoped to die quickly,” Blajman says, adding that ”I would rather die than be taken hostage in Gaza. Especially as a woman, I would rather be killed than raped.”
And now, as a survivor, ”I try to move forward, day after day” even if ”I can’t work, I can’t read, nothing”. From Alma, where he lives in northern Israel, he explains that ”when I returned home I found my neighbors are Muslim Arabs who were waiting for us, who prepared food for us, who prayed and pray for us every day”. Furthermore, he adds, ”when we hide from the rockets, we do it Jews and Muslims together. This is what the world must understand”. She, who was supposed to celebrate her birthday in Sinai with her friends in Egypt on 9 October, launches an appeal for coexistence: ”we must free Gaza and the Palestinians from Hamas” which is ”the cause of everything” . Even ”the Palestinians are trying to escape, but they can’t”.