Israeli survivors of the October 7 music festival attack try to cope with the trauma at a Cyprus retreat.

todayDecember 3, 2023 5

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LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — Tomer Bassos expected his day to be filled with electronic trance music. Oct. 7 at the Desert Revue Party He was participating in southern Israel. Instead, the sounds of gunfire played out in his mind as he ran to avoid the indiscriminate fire of Hamas militants.

The 25-year-old was among about 3,000 other youths at an Israeli music festival who fled the carnage as Gaza militants descended on the scene, shooting dead young men and women and firing rocket-propelled grenades into the crowd. throw In an unprecedented frenzy.

The open-air Tribe of Nova music festival is considered the worst civilian massacre in Israeli history, killing at least 364 people. In a single day, Hamas and other Palestinian militants killed about 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages.

Bassus remembers that when he ran, a girl he didn’t know was running with him.

“I looked to the left and he was shot in the head and immediately fell down.” He kept running, yelling, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.”

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“And all the time the bullets are whistling,” he said. “I see people falling.”

The trauma of that terror-filled day is what Basis – along with about 50 other young survivors of the attack – tried to overcome during a five-day retreat in the Secret Forest, an Israeli-owned site in the upper hills. . Paphos is the resort town on the southwest coast of Cyprus.

Another survivor, Eyal Sirota, 24, said the program was meant to give him and others “tools to deal with the pain and stress” they experienced and witnessed.

Some of the coping tools they are taught include breathing techniques and communication — “sharing everything with each other.” Daily sessions are complemented with yoga, meditation, reflexology, massage and acupuncture, Sirota said.

Rabbi Ari Zef Raskin, who heads Cyprus’s small Jewish community, said Bassus and Sirota were part of a sixth group of about 50 survivors of the Oct. 7 attack who were brought to the retreat this week so that they could join the five May the days pass with rest, relaxation and healing. Cyprus

Raskin said Cyprus’ proximity to Israel and cheap flight connections made it an ideal destination for such a retreat — a quiet place that could help survivors of the Hamas attack recover.

Raskin said the trips to Cyprus are supported by NovaHelp, a group of mental health professionals that came together to help Rio party survivors. Financial support is provided by other charities and private businesses, including major accounting firms and Jewish American groups.

Raskin has initiated another similar project, which is currently underway, to bring parents who lost children during the October 7 attack to Cyprus to undergo similar treatment.

On their last day before returning to Israel on Thursday, the group of surviving Basses were treated to hummus, kosher meat and plenty of drink at the Jewish community center in the coastal town of Larnaca to the blaring sounds of Israeli pop. trance music.

They all clapped and sang along to the music celebrating life.

But despite the festive moments, the terror of that day still haunts Bosses.

He said he was trying to escape a huge car jam as he fled, with hundreds of vehicles trying to escape the chaotic gunfire.

When he couldn’t run, he tried to hide where he could – first under a stage used for a rave party, and finally, under an Israeli armored car where he found a young man. He held the injured woman in his arms until help arrived.

It was there that later, Bassus said, he sprung into action and helped evacuate some of the wounded.

Six of his friends who were with him in Rio did not survive.

“I’ll keep dancing and I’ll keep partying for my friends,” Bassus said. “I’ll dance for them, I’ll live for them. I’ll make my life the best it can be for them.”

“I’ve got my life back as a gift,” he said, “I’m not going to waste it.”

Copyright 2023 The concerned body. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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