Ch.-Supt. Nivi Ohana, the commander responsible for security at the Supernova music festival at Re’im near the Gaza border, shared the harrowing events that unfolded on October 7. At 6:30 a.m., having just finished his night shift, he was waiting for his replacement when rocket sirens were heard.
“We saw the rockets above us, and I decided to stop the music,” Ohana recalled. “I told the people that the party was over, and we needed to leave quickly – some managed to escape.”
Head of the music festival, Ohana sought additional security and had insisted on more armed personnel.
“I was the event commander,” he said. “The IDF approved, and despite no unusual warnings, I got 42 police officers on the scene, eight of whom were from Yasam [riot control]. In retrospect, this decision saved lives.”
As the on-site rocket sirens went off, Ohana ordered the music to stop, ordering the audience to get down amid the sounds of sirens and gunfire. Ohana’s decision to halt the party allowed hundreds to leave safely.
After receiving a report of a vehicle shot in the Urim area at 6:50 a.m., Ohana understood just how severe the situation was. Then, more reports came in, indicating that terrorists shot at civilians in the Gaza border area.
Ohana quickly took charge, ordering emergency roads’ opening and the evacuation of civilians.
Battling Hamas terrorists in Ofakim
Ohana then heard reports of terrorists near Ofakim. When his replacement arrived, he ordered him to take over dispersing the crowd without wasting time gathering equipment. After that, he and another officer went to the Ofakim area, passing by the scenes of carnage at Re’im and Urim. Then, he got a call from a police officer in Ofakim, who said there was a shootout erupting within the city.
The police officer entered the city with his gun drawn and headed to the neighborhood where the battle was being fought, being met with nonstop gunfire and even an RPG.
“I recognized my police officers, some of them wearing flip-flops or in their underwear, and next to them were civilians armed with knives who joined them – they just jumped out of the house,” he recounted.
Ohana took command of the situation, eliminating terrorists despite being wounded by shrapnel. Unconscious, he later discovered the impact of his earlier insistence on additional police presence at the party. However, some of those very police officers would end up killed in the fighting with Hamas.
Evacuated to a hospital, Ohana, fueled by determination, returned to the station with a dislocated shoulder and shrapnel wounds. Despite the losses, he emphasized the heroism of the police officers, declaring them the first and last line of defense for Israel.
“If not for their heroism, thousands more civilians would have been murdered,” Ohana concluded.
The Jerusalem Post and OneFamily are working together to help support the victims of the Hamas massacre and the soldiers of Israel who have been drafted to ensure that it never happens again.