QWhen Hamas militiamen armed with grenades showed up in her living room in Ofakim, Israel, Rachel Edri served them tea and Moroccan cookies until police entered and killed the attackers.
Edri’s story of survival during the war between Israel and Hamas turned the 65-year-old woman into an unlikely hero in Israel. For many, it has come to symbolize the naivety of everyday Israelis who were forced to fend for themselves when Hamas militants turned their communities into bloodbaths on October 7th.
After an early morning air raid siren, Rachel returned home to find a group of Hamas militants in her living room. While gunshots were heard outside, the woman’s house ‘watched’ a 20-hour conversation between hospitality and brutality.
“One of the terrorists said to me: ‘You remind me of my mother'”said Rachel Edri, quoted by the Associated Press, adding that she replied: “I’m just like your mother. I’m going to help you, I’m going to take care of you. What do you need?”
After one of the men armed with grenades hit Edri in the face with a gun, he calmed him down. He served the activists preserved pineapple, tea and his Moroccan biscuits. She sang them songs in Arabic and they responded with songs in Hebrew. She offered them Coke Zero and when they said they preferred Coke, she accepted.
“After drinking and eating, they were much calmer,” he revealed. “I started talking and, at one point, I even forgot for a moment that they were terrorists,” he said.
After 17 hours, a rescue team managed to rescue Edri and her husband with the help of their son, Eviatar. The son, a local police officer, gave the team a sketch of the house, helping rescuers surprise the militants and kill them. With her house heavily damaged, Edri was moved to a hotel in central Israel.
On Wednesday, the woman was one of several Israelis invited to meet President Joe Biden during his lightning visit to Israel. Edri smiled and hugged Biden, who thanked him for defending the country.
For having served light meals to the activists, Edri has been praised on the Internet and in the national media. The Israelites compared her to the biblical character of Yael, who offered food to an evil general before killing him in his sleep.
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