How One Clever Israeli Grandma Outsmarted Hamas Terrorists and Escaped Becoming a Hostage

AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg

Amidst all the stories of horror and chaos coming out of the Israeli war with Hamas, there are bright spots in the darkness. For instance, this story going around about an elderly woman who escaped becoming another hostage to the terrorist group through the power of the grandmother is one such tale. 

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Rachel Edri was one of the Israeli residents who had her home invaded by five Hamas terrorists that fateful Saturday morning. According to the Jewish News Syndicate, she and her husband David had rifles aimed at them, and one of the terrorists held a grenade next to Edri's head while screaming "Allah Akbar," shouting that he was a "martyr." 

But keeping calm, the grandma did what grandmothers do and offered what appeared to be hungry men a homecooked meal. 

At around 7 a.m. on that Saturday, rocket sirens began blaring in Edri's town of Ofakim. The elderly couple made their way to the community shelter as thousands of Hamas rockets came down. Once the bombardment ended, Edri said she noticed one of her windows had been broken into when she was suddenly surrounded by five armed terrorists. 

That's when Edri began to develop a strategy to ease the violent tendencies of men with full bellies. 

“I started to talk to them. Have you had something to drink? Would you like tea or coffee?” she offered them. 

An elite police force shortly arrived at the home, accompanied by Edri's son, an officer himself. Negotiations were attempted, but terrorists weren't going along, stating, "No, we will all die." Instead, Edri had the police negotiator bring in coffee and cookies, and she offered them lunch. 

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“If they were hungry, that would have been the end of me and my husband,” she said.

According to JNS, she began engaging them in small talk and trying to dissuade them from killing her and her husband: 

“I told them don’t do it—we are brothers,” she said.

“No, I am a shahid,” one of the terrorists replied, using the Arab word for “martyr,” and pointed his gun at her husband.

“Rachel, they are going to shoot us,” her husband said. “He was totally helpless,” she recalled.

“Come sit by me,” she told her husband. “We will read the [Jewish prayer of] Shema Yisrael and God will be with us,” she added.

Over the course of the night, Edri helped Israeli police by secretly signaling how many terrorists were inside the home. At one point, one of the terrorists stepped outside and was gunned down, leaving only four. 

Still, Edri didn't stop being a grandmother, utilizing kindness to buy themselves more time: 

As the afternoon wore on, Edri offered to bandage the injured hand of one of the terrorists, and, seeking to soothe him, brought him water as well as some canned pineapple. “You look pallid, “she told him. Take something to eat; you will feel better.”

As night closed in, the attackers became anxious that they would be surrounded, and Edri herself began to lose it, despite her outward demeanor.

“I didn’t think we would make it,” she confessed. “I kept reading the Shema Yisrael.”

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When night had fallen, Israeli police utilized a diagram of the home drawn by their son to plan an assault and rescue mission. As the early morning came about, police burst into the home through the room with a special rescue dog and killed all the terrorists. 

Edri's only injury was a scratch accidentally given to her by the dog. 

Despite her quick thinking, Edri doesn't know how she survived. She thanked her rescuers profusely but was reassured by them that she, in fact, was the actual hero of the story.

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