Survivor of Oct. 7 Hamas attack at music festival shares his story

todayNovember 24, 2023 5

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Photographer Shye Klein Weinstein recalls the early morning of Oct. 7 when Hamas launched an attack at an open-air music festival in southern Israel where thousands had gathered for what had been billed as a celebration of “unity and love.”

“I heard the sound and I felt sick. It gave me a black pit in my stomach,” said Weinstein as he shared his photos and videos with students at the University of Toronto on Thursday as part of a first-hand account of what it was like at the Nova music festival.

“We packed up our belongings into the car and before we were actually able to climb into the car to leave, that’s when we hear gunfire erupt from within the festival ground. That’s when we hear screaming and everything kicks off.”

The terror attack on the rave has been described as highly coordinated and designed to inflict maximum damage as heavily armed gunmen cut off most avenues of escape, trapping the crowds while targeting those who were hiding in shelters.

Shye documented the moments before and after the attack with his camera.

“I happened to have my camera with me and I took these photos and I took these videos without thinking of ‘oh, people have to see this,’ it was just I have to take photos, I have to take videos because if something happens at least they’ll still be around.”

Shye describes the scene of rockets flying overhead into Gaza and he and his cousin driving away as their car was being shot at.

“I feel like it’s necessary to see what we experienced, as we experienced it, to see the photos and the faces, the people who were at this place, the people who were there to celebrate life and love with their friends, spread positivity at this festival that was in support of peace and love and unity. I want people to see that this happened to us.”

Shye, who is originally from Toronto but moved to Israel, says he posted the photos to social media in hopes of finding people who may know those he photographed to see whether they managed to escape the attack. He also decided to go public with the images in hopes of shedding light on issues of antisemitism.

“It’s not a new wave of antisemitism. It’s the same, it’s just louder and I feel now, even though it doesn’t seem like it, we have more support than ever before from everyone,” he said, adding he plans on sharing his story at several other campuses across North America.

“This is my way of helping and contributing and this is my way of fighting to spread awareness to show people that this thing that happened can happen to anybody.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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