Aussie Punter Recounts Escape From Israeli Music Festival 'Massacre'

10 October 2023 | 12:13 pm | Mary Varvaris

"Somehow, with a lot of luck, we got out of there without anyone injured."

Nova Festival

Nova Festival (Source: Twitter)

CONTENT WARNING: This article features distressing details of a traumatic event.

Australian festivalgoer Daniel Moritz has detailed his and his friends’ harrowing escape from Supernova Sukkot Gathering over the weekend (7 October), the outdoor music festival in Re’im, Israel, that witnessed Hamas militants open fire on punters, leaving at least 260 dead and numerous kidnapped.

Talking with ABC Radio Melbourne MorningsRaf Epstein, Moritz stated, “Things like this don’t happen in day-to-day life here”, as transcribed by The Music.

Recounting everything he could remember from the horrific experience, he began, “We got to the party at 10 pm at night – it’s a place of love, peace, dancing, free. Around 6 o’clock am, we noticed bombings above our heads. There was no sirens, nothing; it was just like, attack. Totally surprised, unaware and unprotected.”

Finding his friends, Moritz and the group he was with left their belongings and tents and fled from the Nova Festival site. The priority was getting “whatever’s important to us and see that everyone is protected and leave.”

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He continued, “Five guys – me and my mates – left and got in the car; luckily, we parked it really close to the entrance. We found a hole in the fence and managed to get out faster.

“Then, we started to head north, we thought that we were protected, and then suddenly, a machine gun started to go off. Just, like, shooting us full force. We heard the bullets flying over our heads, we’re ducking down in the car, and the driver, a good friend of ours, is post-traumatic already.

“Everyone was distressed. A few metres after this, there was a full line of terrorists just blocking the road,” Moritz said. “They were blocking four lanes with seven pick-up cars, all with guns. The moment we turned around, we noticed on our right side, a guy – a terrorist with a machine gun – just loading [his gun] and trying to hit us. Somehow, with a lot of luck, we got out of there without anyone injured.”

When Epstein asked if Moritz knew if other people got away safely, he responded, “Most people I know got away to safety and are fine. But 260 people, and still counting are dead bodies, that were in the party. There’s 600 missing, most likely kidnapped.”

Epstein then inquired about how far away Moritz and the group were when they were accosted by the men with machine guns, to which Moritz answered, “Five minutes away or something like that” from the site of the psytrance Universo Paralello rave of Supernova Sukkot Gathering. You can listen to Moritz’s full recollection here.

On Sunday (8 October), organisers of the Supernova Sukkot Gathering issued a statement, writing that they were “shocked and pained. We support and participate in the grief of the families of the missing and murdered. We are doing everything we can to assist the security forces, standing by. They are in continuous contact and are located in the field during scans and searches in order to locate the missing.”

The statement continued (in Hebrew): “We are full of hope and pray that good news will come to us and to you soon. In moments like these, it is important that we be strong and united, full faith, we will support each other and be there for anyone who needs it.”

Another festivalgoer, Raziel Tamir, called the event a “massacre” and told The Jerusalem Post that a reported 3,000 people attended Supernova.