An Israeli man is missing after rushing to a trance music festival near the Gaza Strip in a desperate attempt to save his 20-year-old daughter as a violent horde of Hamas terrorists descended on the rave.
Mark Peretz’s family told the Post on Sunday that they had not seen the 51-year-old father since he ran away from their home in Rishon LeZion on Saturday morning.
Peretz found himself in danger the moment he learned that violence had broken out at the Tribe of Nova music festival his daughter Maya was attending.
“(He) dropped everything and drove over there,” Peretz’s stepdaughter, Jessica Cohen, 24, told the Post.
“Even considering the situation, considering the fact that there were rockets launched over our heads. Given that he saw Hamas terrorists entering Israel, using parachutes to enter Israel… he went to rescue Maya.
As Peretz sped south, Maya dodged through fields and sharp bushes to escape Hamas militants, who gunned down concertgoers, violently kidnapped women young and old, and in some cases shot hostages at the legs to so that they cannot escape.
At least 260 people are believed to have been killed during the festival, which witnesses have described as a “massacre” as the death toll continues to rise. It is not clear how many people were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
Maya and a group of about 12 people managed to pile into a car fleeing north, but were forced to abandon the vehicle as the terrorists fired at them “non-stop.” They then hid in a police station for three terrifying hours, Cohen said.
At one point, Peretz was less than 20 minutes from the police station where Maya was sheltering and called his family back in Rishon LeZion to check in before being suddenly interrupted.
“We were on the phone with him and we heard gunshots, and we’re not sure what happened,” Cohen said.
Peretz was sharing his location on his cell phone, and his son’s former military friends rushed to the area where he was located to try to find him.
“We sent his friends to the area. They said they saw the car, but they didn’t see anyone inside,” Cohen said.
Maya managed to find a way home safely with one of her friend’s fathers, but no one has seen or heard from Peretz since he disappeared from the side of the road.
“It’s just the scariest situation,” Cohen said. “We are living a nightmare.”
“And not just me: everyone in Israel hugs each other, but we are living in a nightmare. We’re all living through this crazy terrorist attack, and it’s insane. It’s truly unfathomable.
The family tried to trace Peretz’s phone, but they said he moved erratically through the countryside in a way that made no sense, and Cohen said every lead they got has only led to conflicting facts and more confusion.
Police and other authorities are still too overwhelmed fending off Hamas invaders to devote resources to searching for Peretz, let alone the countless others missing, Cohen said.
“The police are dealing with a lot of other things at the moment. There are so many terrorists still there and the streets are really blocked everywhere we go,” she said. “We were just in hospitals looking for him, we were just in police stations looking for answers, trying to track his phone, trying to do anything.”
“There are thousands of families like us. Thousands of families are searching for their loved ones. Their loved ones may still be in the desert, they may be hiding in a house, you never know.
“They terrorize innocent people, they take innocent young women hostage and God knows what they do to them. It’s terrifying and we need everyone’s support,” she said.
“It’s way worse than I can ever explain. It’s everyone’s nightmare.
Hundreds of Israelis have been killed since Hamas forces descended on the country in a brutal sneak attack on Saturday. Thousands of people are injured and at least a hundred people have been kidnapped as hostages.
As rockets continue to fly over Israel and gunfire continues in the streets, the Peretzes remain undeterred in their search for a father whose first thought was always for his family.
“He is simply the best person in the world. He didn’t even think twice before leaving the house yesterday morning,” Cohen said.
“His whole heart is his family.”
New York Post