When Rachel and David Edri returned to their home in Ofakim on October 7 after running to a bomb shelter early that morning, five Hamas terrorists were waiting for them inside.
The attackers, brandishing grenades and Kalashnikov rifles, ransacked the house and threatened the couple. But Rachel fought to remain composed, hoping that their sons, both local police officers, would realize was happening and bring the YAMAM counterterrorism squad before it was too late.
Police officers did arrive, and to avoid accidentally hurting the Edris they tried to negotiate rather than storm the house. They killed one terrorist who stepped outside and wounded another. But resolving the crisis took a very long time.
For 20 hours, Rachel kept their captors calm with a mix of Hebrew and Arabic conversation. She even bandaged the hand of the injured terrorist.
She also plied them with food. She is a Jewish mother, after all. She knew hunger can be a dangerous trigger.
“I saw they were mad, and I asked them if they were hungry,” she said. “I made them coffee and gave them cookies.” She gave the wounded terrorist water and canned pineapple.
Never underestimate the power of a good cookie!— Evy. D. (@evyaduek) October 9, 2023
Rachel along with her husband, David, was held hostage for 20 hours in her apartment in Ofakim.
Thanks to her personality she was able to stall the terrorists by offering coffee and cookies until the SWAT team finally rescued… pic.twitter.com/KN3SrjedQn
Meanwhile, their son drew a detailed sketch of the house for the SWAT team. Along with a rescue dog, the team eventually managed to enter through the roof and kill the remaining four terrorists, freeing the Edris.
Israelis have created many amusing memes celebrating the courage, and cookies, of “Savta” (Grandma) Rachel. Some are calling for her to become our next national leader. There’s even a website selling t-shirts of Rachel, with proceeds going to war victims.