Kay Wilson was certain she was going to die.
The extraordinary story of how Wilson survived a brutal 2010 attack in which her friend was murdered is the subject of the Israeli television documentary “Black Forest.”
The Times of Israel and Beit Avi Chai will host the English premiere of “Black Forest” along with IsraelB on Monday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Following the screening, Wilson will share her experiences in a live interview with journalist Matthew Kalman. Also present will be the filmmakers, police detectives involved in the post-attack investigation, and family members of other victims.
‘I believed him’
“Bound, gagged and barefoot, with machetes at our throats, we were pushed through the trees to the site of our execution,” Wilson recalls in a blog post for The Times of Israel. “I whimpered, ‘Please don’t kill us.’ One of the terrorists looked me in the eye, put his hand on his heart and declared, ‘I am good, I not kill.’”
“I believed him,” she says.
But she was wrong.
It was December 2010. Wilson and her friend Kristine Luken were walking through a picturesque forest southwest of Jerusalem, a popular site for hikes and picnics, when they were attacked by two men from a West Bank village near Hebron.
Within minutes Luken lay dead, hacked to pieces in a killing frenzy. Wilson should have died, too.
“I lay bound and gagged, staring at the autumn skies. In those moments, which I believed were to be my last, I looked at the sun obscured by a man’s hand wielding a machete,” she says. “Thirteen times they plunged their machetes into us to the blood-curdling crescendo of ‘Allahu Akbar,’ Kristine screaming ‘Jesus’ and my own whimpering of ‘Shema Israel.’”
“I had never contemplated being brutally murdered,” Wilson says. “Who does? At only 46 years old even death had barely crossed my mind. It was half an hour of madness so debilitating that even the moments necessary for preparing myself for death were strangled by the dread of the manner of my imminent execution.
“I recall looking to heaven and begging the sun not to set, and seconds later witnessing the unthinkable: A human being hacked to death before my very eyes,” she says.
After being left for dead next to the shattered body of her friend, Wilson realized she wasn’t done yet.
“I was no longer afraid to die, but I was terrified of giving up,” she says. “I wanted the police to find my body so that the sons of evil would be caught. I wanted to choose my own grave, I wanted that last autonomy. Somehow, gagged, bound, barefoot and bleeding to death, I managed to get up and walk a mile through the forest.”
“I sustained 13 machete wounds in my lungs and diaphragm, six compound fractures in my ribs, 30 additional fractures, a dislocated shoulder, a crushed sternum and a broken shoulder blade,” Wilson said.
Somehow, she survived what she calls her personal “death march.” She reached the car park of the picnic site and summoned help before collapsing.
Years later, Wilson still suffers from the physical and emotional damage she endured that day. Robbed of her health, her livelihood and her anonymity, Wilson has become a prominent campaigner against terrorism and the payments made to convicted Palestinian murderers.
“Terrorists are entitled to a Palestinian Authority monthly murder stipend 10 times what the Israeli National Insurance awards me as a disability allowance,” she says.
The story of the massive manhunt for Luken’s killers is told in “Black Forest,” directed by Hadar Kleinman Zadok and Timna Goldstein Hattab. The documentary manages for the first time to go behind the scenes in a major Israeli police investigation.
“We were interested in how the police were able to investigate these crimes using DNA evidence,” Goldstein Hattab tells The Times of Israel. “We also wanted to show the emotional side of the investigation and how much it touched them.”
At Wilson’s suggestion, the directors took her back to the forest so the crime scene could be reconstructed and she could take viewers through her experience firsthand.
“To go through all this trauma wasn’t easy for her, but it was her idea to do it,” Goldstein Hattab says. “I come also from therapy work and I definitely believe that however difficult it was, it also had a side that was very therapeutic for her and for others. They came back, but this time they were in control.”
English premiere with Kay Wilson
The Times of Israel Presents, Beit Avi Chai & IsraelB
Monday, July 9, 7:00 p.m.
Beit Avi Chai
44 King George St.
Tickets NIS 40 HERE
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