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Monday, March 4, 2024

Israeli survivors of the Oct. 7 music pageant assault search to deal with trauma at a Cyprus retreat

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LARNACA, Cyprus — Tomer Bassis anticipated his day to be full of digital trance music on the Oct. 7 desert rave get together he was attending in southern Israel. As a substitute, the sounds of bullets whizzing by as he ran to flee the indiscriminate gunfire of Hamas militants turned the soundtrack seared into his thoughts.

The 25-year-old Israeli was amongst some 3,000 different younger revelers on the music pageant who fled the carnage because the militants from Gaza descended on the sector, gunning down younger women and men and throwing rocket-propelled grenades into the gang in an unprecedented rampage.

The open-air Tribe of Nova music pageant is believed to be the worst civilian bloodbath in Israeli historical past, with at the very least 364 {dead}. In a single day, Hamas and different Palestinian militants killed about 1,200 folks in Israel, largely civilians, and took round 240 folks captive.

Bassis remembers that as he ran, a lady he did not know was working subsequent to him.

“I regarded to the left and he or she obtained hit with the bullet within the head and fell down instantly,” he mentioned. He saved on working, screaming, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I couldn’t aid you.”

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“And on a regular basis bullets are whistling,” he mentioned. “I see folks falling.”

The traumas of that horror-filled day are what Bassis — together with some 50 different younger survivors of the rave assault — has tried to come back to phrases with throughout a five-day retreat at Secret Forest, a web site owned by Israel within the hills above Cyprus’ southwestern coastal resort city of Paphos.

One other survivor, Eyal Sirota, 24, mentioned this system was geared toward giving him and others the “instruments to cope with the ache and the stress” of what they skilled and witnessed.

Among the coping instruments they’re taught embrace respiratory strategies and discussions — “sharing the whole lot with one another.” The every day classes are complemented with yoga, meditation, reflexology, therapeutic massage and acupuncture, Sirota mentioned.

Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin, who heads Cyprus’ small Jewish group, mentioned Bassis and Sirota had been a part of the sixth group of round 50 survivors of the Oct. 7 assault dropped at the retreat this week to bear 5 days of relaxation, rest and remedy in Cyprus.

Raskin mentioned Cyprus’ shut proximity to Israel and low-cost flight connections make it a super vacation spot for such a retreat — a spot of calm that may assist those that survived the Hamas assault heal, at the very least a little bit.

The journeys to Cyprus are supported by NovaHelp, a gaggle of psychological heath professionals who got here collectively to assist survivors of the rave get together, mentioned Raskin. Monetary assist is supplied by different charities and personal companies, together with main accounting corporations and Jewish American teams.

Raskin has initiated one other, related challenge at the moment underway to carry dad and mom who misplaced kids in the course of the Oct. 7 assault to bear related remedy in Cyprus.

Some 1,200 Israelis had been killed throughout that single day of Hamas’ onslaught. Israel responded with devastating airstrikes and a floor offensive into Gaza. The struggle has up to now killed greater than 13,300 Palestinians, in response to the Well being Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants.

On their closing day earlier than heading again to Israel on Thursday, Bassis’ group of survivors had been handled on the Jewish Group Heart within the coastal city of Larnaca to a meal of hummus, kosher meats and loads of drink to the pounding rhythms of Israeli pop and trance music.

All of them clapped and sang alongside to the music as they celebrated life.

However regardless of festive moments, the fear of that day nonetheless haunts Bassis.

He recounted attempting to keep away from an enormous automobile jam as he ran, a whole lot of autos chaotically attempting to flee the capturing.

When he could not run, he tried to cover the place he may — first underneath the stage that was used for the rave get together, and eventually, underneath an Israeli armored car the place he held a younger wounded lady in his arms till assist got here.

It was there that later, Bassis mentioned he sprang into motion and helped with the evacuation of a few of the wounded.

Six of his associates who had been with him on the rave didn’t survive.

“I’ll preserve dancing and I’ll preserve partying for my associates,” mentioned Bassis. “I’ll dance for them, I’ll dwell for them. I’ll make my life the very best for them.”

“I obtained my life as a present again,” he mentioned. “I can’t waste it.”



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