When Hamas operatives showed up in her living room with grenades, 65-year-old Israeli woman Rachel Edri served them coffee and Moroccan cookies to trick them until police entered and killed them. Rachel Edri was rescued with the help of her son, a police officer, who found his mother held hostage in their home by an armed terrorist for 20 hours, The New York Post reported.
And now Rachel’s story of her quick survival during the war between Israel and Hamas has made her 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 emerged earlier this month. Rachel and her husband David were taken hostage by officers and it was only when her son walked into his parents’ home, armed with a gun, that he saw his mother being held by the neck by an officer. The officer held a grenade in his other hand and threatened to kill her, ABC News said in its report.
Rachel gestured to her son with her five fingers spread across her face to tell him that there were five hostage takers in her house. The report further stated that a Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team convinced Evyatar to withdraw, and they took over the rescue.
Rachel and David described how they survived the 20 hours with their wits, which included cooking for her captors, keeping them entertained with coffee and cookies and asking for Arabic lessons.
“I knew that when they’re hungry, they’re angry,” Rachel told ABC News.
“I told him I had to inject insulin, trying to distract them from the fact that I have children who are police officers… I offered them drinks: Coke Zero, water,” she said.
She told how she joked with the kidnappers and said, “I will teach you Hebrew and you will teach me Arabic.”
“I understood it was a matter of life and death.”
The couple was eventually rescued after midnight after the SWAT team came to their aid.
Biden visited Israel on Wednesday, where he expressed solidarity after the Hamas attacks, in an effort to gauge Israel’s war aims and hope to prevent a spillover into regional conflict.
He warned Israel to be careful in eliminating the threat from Hamas. “After September 11, we were angry in the United States. While we sought justice, we also made mistakes,” he said.
The US president’s whistle came just hours after Tuesday evening’s explosion at the Ahli Arab hospital in the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 500 people. This sparked anger in Arab countries, which blamed Israel for the bombing.
(With input from agencies)