Hamas attack survivor: ‘We knew it was Hamas’ because few could cause such carnage
Dec 2, 2023, 1:19 PM
(Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Shye Klein was at the Supernova Sukkot Gathering, an open-air music festival, on Oct. 7 in the Negev desert of southern Israel. He, his cousin and multiple friends celebrated into the early hours of the morning. The event was organized to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
“It was a spectacular time, it was some of the most fun that I’ve ever had,” Klein told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH 770 AM. “And then 6 a.m. comes along and there’s rockets. And rockets are not abnormal when living in Israel. But this was so many rockets. I was on edge. I was nervous. I felt something was wrong and I wanted to leave. I don’t think anybody knew it was coming. Nobody knew that after the rockets there’d be armed men, almost the same age as me, coming to attack us.”
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Oct. 7 was also the day agents of Hamas launched an attack that killed at least 260 civilians and wounded many more at the festival. On Oct. 7, at least 40 Israeli hostages were taken by Hamas terrorists.
The rocket barrage began just around 6:30 a.m., according to Klein, lasting for a little more than an hour before more than 50 Hamas gunmen arrived — some in vans while others paraglided in. The gunmen began firing their weapons at the crowd immediately.
“We were in the parking lot, packing up our belongings,” Klein said. “And before we could load ourselves into the car, that’s when we heard that gunfire was erupting from the festival grounds. That’s when everybody heard the gunfire. That’s when everybody heard the screaming. That’s when the terror began. That’s when everybody knew something was happening.”
Klein got behind the wheel, with his cousin and three other friends in the car, and began to navigate the packed crowds to reach safety.
“If you’ve ever left a sporting event or a concert or a music festival, you know when hundreds or thousands of people are trying to leave at once, it is painfully slow,” Klein said. “In this case, it’s the exact same situation, except people are being murdered hundreds of meters away from us. I just want to get us out as fast as possible.
“So I decided to drive around all the cars past everybody,” Klein continued. “Just pushing my way in front of the line on the rocky terrain of the Negev desert. Around shrubs, rocks, trees, so on and so forth, as close to the exit as I can.”
Klein and his passengers eventually found themselves behind two cars near the exit. The car directly in front of them had people panicking inside while the second car was abandoned altogether. Klein directed his cousin to leave the car and inform the vehicle in front of them. Once the message was relayed, both cars were able to navigate around the aforementioned abandoned vehicle and head to the main road.
“I see everybody’s going down the main road and I don’t want to put us in more traffic waiting, like sitting ducks,” Klein said. “We can’t go the opposite direction on the main road because it’s blocked by security forces. In that direction, Hamas was murdering 80% of the population. We didn’t know that then, but that’s what was happening that way. So the only other place for us to go was an empty field straight ahead.”
Klein’s cousin’s girlfriend, one of the four passengers in the car, begged the group to ditch the car and flee on foot. While the vehicle wasn’t specifically being targeted by gunfire, according to Klein, bullets were constantly flying by in their general direction.
“We go from there, driving around these fields looking for a way out with dozens and dozens and dozens of other cars doing the same,” Klein continued. “Dozens and dozens and dozens of people running on foot. Not a clue where to go. So much dust in the air. You can’t see anything. If you open the windows, you’re suffocated by the dust.”
Driving through fields and unpaved roads, Klein and his friends eventually landed on another road with a few other fleeing cars. One car stopped so its passengers can use a warehouse to hide in. Another made a sudden U-turn. But Klein, with his cousin behind the wheel now, pressed onward.
“We kept taking this road as far as we can. After an hour or so, our GPS is working. Can we reach the city of Netivot?” Klein asked rhetorically. “After passing a few checkpoints, at each checkpoint the soldiers asked us where we’re going. We told them Tel Aviv. They asked us if we’re Israeli. We said yes. We tell them we just lived through a horrible attack, a massacre gunfire, screaming and god knows what else.”
Klein stated the rockets overhead have not stopped during this entire time. Israeli soldiers were on the streets guiding cars toward highways that led to Tel Aviv. Between Netivot and the highway that led to Tel Aviv, Klein stated he and his friends saw dozens of corpses.
“I remember one car specifically,” Klein told Jason Rantz. “We passed by and saw the driver in the driver’s seat shot in the face. We eventually drove down the highway past a cluster of cars with bodies in them and behind them. Two armed men next to a car, wearing blue jeans, cargo pants, black T-shirts and black balaclava masks over their heads, one wearing a tactical vest and the other without, both carrying machine guns. We were so close to these men. We can see their eyes. We can see one of the men has his hands red with blood.”
With at least 260 people killed at the festival, the massacre has become one of the worst civilian casualty incidents in Israel’s history.
Klein said there were so many bodies during certain parts of the journey to Tel Aviv, that he had to drive over them with the car at times. Klein and his friends eventually got to his cousin’s apartment in Tel Aviv at 9:45 a.m. He originally was in a group of eight, with the five in the cousin’s apartment waiting all day for news that their other friends survived. After more than a day passed, they finally got word that they made it out alive.
“They had to hide in the woods in a bush while Hamas hunted people around them, listening to the carnage,” Klein said. “They said Hamas was so close to where they were hiding, they could hear them having a conversation.
“It took us until we started passing bodies were we like, ‘these are terrorists,'” Klein continued. “This is an attack. Terrorists are attacking us. And I think we knew it was Hamas because there’s not many other people who would do this.”
Seattle has been home to many rallies and protests over the Israel-Hamas War since Oct. 7, with both sides being represented and supported. Most recently, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Seattle, an annual tradition for the last nine years to unofficially mark the holiday season, was disrupted by pro-Palestine protestors last week.
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“What would you say if you were able to have a conversation with some of these protesters here in the U.S.?” Jason Rantz asked Klein.
“Come visit. I’ll go to the West Bank with you. We’ll go look at the billboards of the martyrs together. We can hide in the bunker for rockets together,” Klein answered. “They can go and give their support face-to-face, ‘I support you.’ See how that’s appreciated because they didn’t kill only Israelis. They didn’t kill all the Jews. They killed Arabs. They killed Germans. They killed Italians and they killed Americans. They killed people who were gay or straight. They don’t care.
“I want to add this,” Klein continued on Jason Rantz’ show. “When we were at the festival, I met a man and he came to the festival on a minibus and his bus was driven by a Palestinian worker from Gaza, a Muslim man. Within the first month after the attack, Hamas put out a video of them catching this man, the driver, and him telling them, in Arabic, that he’s Muslim. Telling them, in Arabic, that he’s Palestinian from Gaza. His family lives in Gaza. And they still killed him.”
Klein did clarify he’s not against Palestinians or their movement to gain equality.
“I have no issues if you want to support the Palestinians. Everyone’s right,” Klein added. “I think if you want to chant something, instead of saying ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ say ‘Palestinians will be free’ because that makes it sound like you want equal rights and a fair living situation for everybody.”
Klein is speaking at a rally in support of Israel on Sunday at 12 p.m., organized by Stand With Us Northwest. The rally will be held at Aubrey Davis Park in Mercer Island.
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