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Rachel the Hostess

Rachel Edri of Ofakim is one of Israel's heroines. Do you know how she fought five terrorists and overcame them? She was just being herself – Rachel Edri, the lady who sells snacks and drinks at the Tze'elim army base, whilst also chatting and listening to soldiers for a few minutes every day. For 42 years, Rachel has been used to talking to tough military men. Everyone knows that at home she is the perfect hostess, always welcoming guests in an exemplary manner.

On Simchat Torah, October 7th, a siren sounded in the skies above. Rachel and her husband, David left their house for the nearest shelter. When they returned home, they noticed five terrorists armed with guns entering through the window. Before they realized what was happening, the terrorists forced them to go upstairs. Rachel and David became hostages in the hands of the terrorists. "We will release them in exchange for the release of prisoners from Israeli prisons!", the terrorists shouted at the policemen when they arrived at the house.

Rachel understood that time was necessary for a successful rescue. "I have diabetes," she told the terrorists, "I need to inject myself with insulin." A terrorist escorted her downstairs, where she threw up and pretended to pass out. It didn't help, and the terrorist forced her to go upstairs again. During this time, she managed to indicate to the police how many terrorists were in the house.

For hours she chatted with her captors. She saw they were getting agitated and thought that after they ate, they would calm down and not hurt her and her husband. She prepared them a good meal, and later served them coffee and cookies.

Meanwhile the policemen tried to kill the terrorists, and one of them was killed and another was injured. Rachel bandaged the injured one and spoke to him warmly, "Eat something sweet, rest," and she put him to sleep.

They sang her songs by Lior Narkis, an Israeli singer, and she sang them songs by Umm Kulthum, an Egyptian singer. Rachel was very afraid, but she believed that they would be rescued.

At 2am the police broke into the house, killed the terrorists and rescued Rachel and David. The rescue operation was successful thanks to Rachel's composure, patience, wisdom and hospitality. This is probably the reason why an entire country sees her as an inspiration.


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