Survivor of Supernova music festival meets with Senator Tim Kaine

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Trending News

Terri Denison
A string of coincidences brought Natalie Sanandaji to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine’s (D- Va.) office on Thursday, Oct. 19, just before the vote on Senate Resolution (S.RES. 417), affirming support for Israel, was scheduled to take place.

Sanandaji was in Washington, DC to speak at a conference. A friend of hers also happens to be a friend of Senator Kaine’s.

A survivor of the Hamas attack at the Supernova music festival/dance party in Israel where at least 260 people were killed and others kidnapped and injured, Sanandaji shared her harrowing story with Sen. Kaine.

“Natalie was in Israel for a family wedding,” says Kaine. Some of her family members took the 28-year-old Long Island, N.Y. woman with them to the party in the Negev Desert near Kibbutz Re’im, about three miles from the Gaza border.

“They were in the campgrounds when they first heard the rockets, but the people she was with said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ When the blasts continued, Natalie and her group decided to leave.”

“If this festival happened anywhere else in the world, as soon as they saw those first rockets, they would have run for their lives. But for these kids, that’s a reality,” Sanandaji told CBS News New York.

At first, Sanandaji and her group picked up their things and ran for their car. They thought about using the bathroom but decided against it. Later they learned that everyone in the portable bathrooms had been killed.

They drove into a snarl of traffic, as so many were attempting to flee. The terrorists and gunshots were coming from all directions, making the decision of which way to drive confusing, hence the traffic jam.
“Hearing the gunfire, you can’t even tell what direction it’s coming from,” Sanandaji told CBS. There was no correct way to go, as they were surrounded.

Security instructed everyone to get out of their vehicles and run. While that didn’t make much sense to Sanandaji, that’s what they did. Ultimately, that was absolutely the correct move as those still in their cars were murdered.

They began a run which lasted for four hours. At one point, they came across a group of kids hiding in a ditch, who offered to make room for them. Tired, they considered stopping, but decided instead to keep running. Later, Sanandaji learned that everyone in the ditch had been killed.

When they hadn’t heard the gunshots for a while, they stopped to rest under a tree for a few minuters. It had been four hours and they were exhausted. “Suddenly they saw a white pickup truck,” relates Sen. Kaine. “They thought, ‘now, we’re goners.’”

The truck was being driven by an Israeli man from another town who heard what was going on and drove there to help. He loaded everyone into his truck, drove them to a safe place and then returned to rescue more people.

After hearing Sanandaji’s story, Sen. Kaine arranged for her to visit her own Senator’s office, Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Then, it was time for the vote on the RESOLUTION: Standing with Israel against terrorism. Sen. Kaine took Sanandaji into the Senate Gallery to watch the vote take place. From the floor, he pointed her out to other senators who were able to acknowledge her presence.

“It was a rare unanimous vote,” says Kaine, who was a co-sponsor of the resolution that affirmed support for Israel, its right to self-defense, and condemned Hamas’ attacks on civilians.

The resolution was introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID). It was adopted without objection after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) brought it to the floor.

The resolution also “condemns Iran’s support for global terrorism, including its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” and notes that the U.S. “stands ready to assist Israel with emergency resupply or other security, diplomatic, and intelligence support needs.”

Also on Oct. 19, President Joe Biden called for Congress to pass a supplemental package including aid for Israel in an evening address from the Oval Office.

“Natalie was remarkably composed,” says Kaine. “Her family and friends all survived.”