When Hamas operatives toting grenades appeared in her living room, the 65-year-old Israeli woman Rachel Edri served them coffee and Moroccan cookies to trick them until police came in and killed them. Rachel Edri was rescued with the help of her police officer son- who found his mother being held hostage by an armed terrorist for 20 hours at their home, reported The New York Post.
And now Rachel’s tale of quick-witted survival during the Israel-Hamas war has turned her into an unlikely folk hero in Israel. She was one of several Israelis invited to meet with US President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel.
Rachel Edri beamed and hugged Joe Biden, as he thanked her for defending the country.
The details of Rachel’s rescue surfaced earlier this month. Rachel and her husband David were held hostage by operatives and it was only when her son walked into his parents’ home, armed with a pistol, saw his mother being restrained at the neck by an operative. The operative held a grenade in his other hand, threatening to kill her, ABC News said in its report.
Rachel signalled to her son with her five fingers spread over her face to tell him there were five hostage takers in her home. The report further stated that a Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team convinced Evyatar to retreat, and they took over the rescue.
Rachel and David described how they survived the 20-hour using their wits, which included her cooking for her captors and keeping them occupied with coffee and cookies and also asking for Arabic lessons.
“I knew that if they are hungry, they are angry,” Rachel told ABC News.
“I told him I had to inject insulin, trying to distract them from the fact I have children who are police officers … I offered them drinks: Coke Zero, water,” she said.
Narrating how she joked around the captors, she said, “I’ll teach you Hebrew and you’ll teach me Arabic,'”
“I understood that it was a matter of life and death.”
The couple was finally rescued after midnight after the SWAT team came to their rescue.
Biden made a visit to Israel Wednesday, expressing solidarity following the Hamas attacks, trying to gauge Israel’s war objectives and hoping to prevent a spillover into regional conflict.
He warned Israel to be cautious as it tries to remove the threat from Hamas. “After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice we also made mistakes,” he said.
The US president’s whistlestop trip came just hours after Tuesday night’s blast at the Ahli Arab hospital in the Gaza Strip that killed over 500 people, sparking fury in Arab countries which blamed Israel for the bombing.
(With inputs from agencies)