Two beautiful young women, childhood friends Arbel and Eden, full of life and love and laughter, meet up at the Nova Trance Music Festival in the middle of a desert forest on Friday night in Re’im, Israel for a night of trance music and dancing. They have grown up together from birth and share a common spirit of fun and adventure. Anyone who meets them is instantly touched by their warm spirits and total acceptance of others. Eden is supposed to work the morning shift at the festival’s bar. Arbel and Eden dance together all night long, waiting for the sunrise.
At 6:30am on Saturday, October 7th, as the sun begins to rise, loud booms interrupt the party and what first appears to be fireworks in the sky is soon recognized as hundreds of rockets are fired from Gaza into Southern Israel. The music stops, and the over 3,000 festival attendees are told on the loudspeakers that the party is over and that they should leave the area as soon as possible. Suddenly chaos ensues. People begin running to their cars or try to find refuge in the few concrete blocks scattered in the area, or hide wherever they could, even under tables or trees. Reality turns at once, from party to battlefield.
Arbel and Eden ran to their cars with their friends. They are parked next to each other. Arbel gets in her car with a few friends, and Eden in a car with two other girlfriends. Both cars headed for the single dirt road leading out of the forest area. But they, and the masses trying to escape, quickly run into a traffic jam with nowhere to go. Out of nowhere, several hundred body-armored Hamas militants who had broken through the fortified wall dividing Gaza from Israel arrive in trucks, cars, motorcycles, and powered gliders and block the cars trying to leave and attack the party attendees with AK-47 assault rifles, RPGs and hand grenades, killing or wounding whoever they could find.
Eden remains in her car with her two girlfriends who were shot and killed right in front of her eyes. She hid behind their bodies pretending she was dead. She calls her mother who was together with her two sisters and stays on the phone with them for hours as they try to calm her down and guide her through this terror. At one point someone found her and told her to run. She ran and hid under a bush staying on the phone with her mother and sisters until she said to them: “They caught me”. Only thirteen days later did the Israeli Army confirm to the family that she had been taken hostage. She turned 24 years old in captivity.
Arbel drove with her friends as far as they could, then left the car and began running, witnessing unspeakable horrors on their way. They hid and ran for hours until they were rescued. Arbel hoped that Eden had been rescued as well, but later that day found out that she had been caught and likely taken hostage, or worse. She kept thinking about Eden, and how she is probably worried about her, that she might have been killed or raped or kidnapped as well. That day, about 360 party goers, most of them young adults, were brutally killed, and another 40 were taken hostage.
Since that day, the lives of Eden, Arbel, their families and loved ones have changed completely. No more getting up in the morning, going to work, meeting friends… not even sleeping at night. From that moment on, life is like one long day, and this day is all about Eden – how can we get her back? Waiting for the Sunrise is a 40-minute documentary, focusing on the story of these two young women, their lives, families, their bonds of friendship – and their fate. Our purpose is to convey the immense impact of this traumatic event that occurred on October 7th in the most personal, sensitive, and intimate way.