Car chases. Shrapnel wounds. Surrounded by terrorists facing almost certain death.
The story of Dor Kapah, one of the thousands of Israeli civilians partying at the Nova music festival when Hamas gunmen streamed over the Gaza border to launch their ruthless massacre, is truly fit for the silver screen.
Circumstances forced the typically mellow massage therapist to undergo a rapid transformation into bona-fide action hero as he piloted a getaway vehicle filled with terrified civilians from a fleet of rifle-wielding terrorists chasing them down on motorbikes.
His friend escaped death by mere millimetres when shrapnel from a terrorist blast tore off part of his scalp, while Dor himself saved his crew from being shot dead when he managed to ram a Hamas militant off the road.
Now, still facing an agonising wait for news of his friends who were abducted and dragged into Gaza by the Islamist attackers, Dor shares with his breathless, adrenaline filled escape from the festival in vivid detail.
Dor tells how he and his friends were hunted by terrorists at the Nova music festival
One of Dor’s passengers lost a chunk of his scalp when shrapnel from terrorist gunfire scarred the back of his head
Dor was ready to flee the festival ground but then he received a call from a friend telling him not to leave because ‘the streets are full of terrorists’
Scenes from kibbutz Be’eri, where Dor was forced to hide for six hours from Hamas terrorists
A home destroyed during the attack by Hamas is seen within Kibbutz Be’eri on October 14, 2023 in Be’eri, Israel
‘Everything was amazing until 6am… then we saw the trails of missiles streaking into the air,’ Dor said.
‘The music stopped, everybody panicked. People started running, lying on the floor… it was complete chaos. We started hearing gunshots in the distance… then we saw them coming – 400 metres. 300 metres.’
Dor and his friends began packing up their belongings and readying their jeep to flee the festival ground. But then he received a call from a friend in a nearby kibbutz that plunged the group into a catch-22.
‘Don’t leave the festival,’ the friend said. ‘The streets are full of terrorists.’
It was at that moment Dor truly realised the horror of his predicament – damned if you stay, damned if you go, with gunmen lying in wait at every turn.
But with terrorists wielding AK-47s bearing down on him, Dor and his friends were left with no choice but to pile into their jeep and take off.
Swerving between festival tents towards the exit, Dor stopped only to pick up yet more desperate festivalgoers who flagged him down and begged him to save them.
‘I see people running towards us from the exits and a group of 30-40 terrorists… they were being hunted like ducks,’ Dor exclaimed.
Having left the festival ground, the group sped towards nearby scrubs where they happened upon an abandoned, damaged IDF armoured car. They spotted an IDF assault rifle lying on the ground, scooped it up and took refuge in the bushes.
For a few minutes, the revellers think they’re safe. They hop out of the jeep and begin calling their families.
But the moment of peace is shattered by the rumble of motorbike engines and seconds later a group of Hamas gunmen come flying across the fields towards them, followed by terrorists in trucks.
Dor’s passengers made frantic calls to the police as they fled the festival grounds
Dor narrowly avoided being shot at near point blank range, managing to run over one terrorist on a motorbike before he could fire his weapon
Rubble is seen at a burnt out nursery in Be’eri
An Israeli soldier in the destroyed Jewish home in the community of Kibbutz Be’eri along the border with the Gaza Strip
The group dove back into the jeep, but two passengers chose to run further into the bushes. It is believed they were later captured and dragged across the border.
Dor set off again, heading for kibbutz Be’eri – where it was later revealed that more than 100 Israeli civilians had been shot, stabbed and burned in their homes.
It was at the intersection entering Be’eri that Hamas terrorists on motorbikes caught up with Dor, prompting him to speed up yet again and head off road, swerving violently to avoid the stream of bullets.
Despite his erratic driving, Hamas still managed to pepper the jeep with several rounds. Shrapnel from one blast tore through the cabin and scorched across the back of the head of one passenger, Gilad, tearing skin from his scalp.
‘I was shot in the head!’ Gilad shouts. ‘Hold the wound, squeeze tight!’ Dor responded as he continued to zig-zag his vehicle away from the terrorists.
Suddenly, one motorbike pulled up right in front of Dor’s jeep.
‘The terrorist looks me in the eye and he shouts: ”It’s a Jew – kill the Jew!”
The Hamas fighter scrambled for his weapon but Dor rammed the motorbike with the front of the jeep, sending the rider flying through the air before crumpling into a nearby ditch.
Entering Be’eri, there was nowhere left to run. Dor stopped the truck beside some shrubbery and, pulling a bleeding Gilad along with him, forced his way into a dilapidated public toilet building.
There they cowered for six hours as Hamas gunmen came and went, shooting at the doors and windows before going off to massacre more civilians throughout the kibbutz.
‘Even if our friends return from over the border, they will never be the same again,’ Dor said before breaking down
Forensic examiners extract bone fragments from the ruins of a burnt out house in Be’eri
Members of Army rescue and ZAKA crews search for bodies and body parts after the Hamas and Palestinian militants’ attack on the Kibbutz on October 22, 2023
‘There’s nothing we could do. Pieces of the ceiling were crumbling on us. We barricaded ourselves inside for six hours.
‘You can hear screams, the missiles, the shots of the Kalashnikov.’ Dor went on, his voice trembling.
But just when it seemed all hope was lost, Dor said he could hear ‘the language of the IDF’. Military service is mandatory in Israel, and most civilians undergo two or more years of army training.
Hearing the voices of IDF soldiers gave Dor and his wounded friend the strength to run for cover before joining up with the military unit and evacuating the hell hole.
Sharing his thoughts with after his heroic but harrowing ordeal, Dor could only speak of his friends and other Israeli citizens who were abducted and pulled back into Gaza by the terrorists.
‘People will not be who they were again. Even if our friends return from over the border, those who have been kidnapped will never be the same again.’
Dor agreed to share his story after speaking with Survived To Tell, an initiative of the NGO Israel Is, which seeks to help survivors of the Hamas massacre, as well as friends and family of those abducted, to tell their stories.