Refael Edry - memorial website
Refael ben Moshe and Leah. Born in 1924 in Israel. One of the best sons of Safed who defended the city in the events of 1936-1939 and who participated in the occupation in the Independance war.
Heroism, death and the heritage left behind. Refael Edry fell in 1948; leaving a family that continues his legacy
Refael Edry z”l ,left behind a long and glorious heritage defending the Jewish Yishuv in Israel with courage and love of the homeland, and greatly contributing to society. Today, his family commemorates him through philanthropic activity that focuses on Israel social and geographical periphery.
Rafael Edry – his life and work
Rafael Edry z”l was born in Safed in 1924, the eldest son of Leah and Moshe, and brother to Yosef, Pnina, Rivka, and Ahinoam. He studied at public school as a young man, but was forced at the same time to work as an electrician to help support his family. In those years, he joined the HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed youth movement, and went on to become the top counselor in Safed. Moreover, Edry commanded the town’s youth brigades and then the Tel Hai district youth brigades. After many years of service as a guard in the Jezreel Valley, he returned to the town of his birth to continue his work as a youth counselor.
Rafael was one of Safed’s best sons who defended the town and for a time was its only machine gunner. During the British Mandate, as a member of the Hagana, he excelled as a “slicker” an expert in concealing weapons, and outstanding scout. He was an outstanding squad commanded and was involved in preparing Safed’s Jewish Quarter for war, preparing “slicks” (weapon caches), commanding a machine gun squad, and alternative as the reserves squad commander.
His military duties also included the Palmach platoon coordinator in the abandoned hotels area along the Canaan River, and as a scout, where he frequently commanded raids in the Safed area, such as the raid on Sasa.
The story of his heroism
A few weeks before Israel’s independence, Rafael and his comrades witnessed the departure of the British from the town. The British handed over Safed’s high buildings to the Arabs, who quickly raised the Syrian flag over them. Edry went from house to house until he obtained an improvised Israeli flag, climbed onto the roof of a hotel next to the British police station, attached a flagpole, and raised the Israeli flag, while under heavy fire that jeopardized his life.
Edry's death in the War of Independence
With the end of combat in Safed, Rafael Edry could have chosen to stay in the town and begin his life, but instead he chose to leave it and his family to join the IDF Yiftach brigade, which was fighting in 1948 to liberate the Negev. While defending Mishlat Halutza, the Egyptian forces sensed their presence and shelled the units, including Edry. When trying to visit the trenches to encourage the troops, he was hit by shrapnel in the neck. Rafael Edry fell in the War of Independence on 28 July 1948, along with thousands of soldiers, the best of our sons.
The Edry family heritage
Ahinoam Edry’s three sons, the nephews of the late Rafael Edry, have been engaged in philanthropic activity in Safed and Israel’s periphery for over thirty years. About ten years ago, the three brothers – Rafi, Eyal, and Moshe Edry – joined together to found Ahinoam, and NPO that helps youths in Israel’s social and geographical periphery.
The eldest brother, Rafi Edry who is named for his uncle who fell in the War of Independence, established extensive business operations in Africa; Eyal, who served from years as a clinical psychologist; and Moshe, an architect, joined together to plant olive groves in the Galilee. The proceeds of the olive oil sales are devoted to social equality projects.
Right now, the Edry family – the family of the fallen soldier Rafael Edry, continues to commemorate him and the best of our sons who have fallen in Israel wars by building the Yad LeBanim house is Safed, where families and visitors can unite with their sons and forever honor and cherish them and serve as a place to tell of the heroism of the Jewish Yishuv to bequeath to the next generations.
Memories of Rafael Edry
Rafael Edry z"l fell in the War of Independence and his family commemorates his memory by donating to Israeli society and community
Rafael Edry z”l was a soldier who fell in combat against the Egyptian enemy. The story of his heroism and that of the many soldiers who participated in the fierce battles during the War of Independence remain engraved in the hearts of thousands of families who lost their loved ones; his family – the Edry family – decided to leverage his memory by a donation to Israeli society and community, as he had wanted in his childhood. In fact, before he joined the army, Edry participated in training activity and was an inspiring guide who saw the promotion of Safed and youths as an important part of his daily routine. It is therefore no wonder that his family continues to commemorate his memory by building a Yad Lebanim house in the town of his birth, but also by establishing a non-profit organization.
Rafael Edry – a story of exceptional heroism
Rafael Edry was born and grew up in Safed to a Zionist family rooted in the area. As someone born and raised in Safed, he considered it his moral duty to take care of future generations, and therefore actively participated as a counselor in the HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed youth movement even as he helped his family financially with his strong work ethic. When he was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, he took an active role in the defense of Safed, which was under siege. The story of his exceptional heroism occurred when he climbed on the roof of a hotel next to the British Police HQ to wave an Israeli flag while under fire and at real risk of his life. His heroism was also expressed in his active role as an expert in concealing arm in the town’s defense during both defensive and offensive operations. During visits to the trenches and their defenders, he fell in battle from a massive explosion by the Egyptian enemy during the War of Independence, dying at a young age with thousands of other soldiers.
His family decided to pursue his social activity for the sake of the community and Safed in particular, by raising funds from the public to build a Yad LeBanim house in the town in which he was born and grew up. The campaign succeeded and is another point that makes this family special, which despite paying such a heavy price, sees Edry’s love as an important part of activity that must go on even many years after his death. The third generation, Rafi’s nephews, headed by his namesake Rafi Edry and brothers Eyal and Moshe, has picked up the gauntlet.
Continuing social activity through Ahinoam
Ahinoam is an NPO founded in 2018 with the objective of narrowing social disparities in Israel by promoting a breakthrough social program, Rafi Edry at Ahinoam, together with his brothers, Eyal Edry and Moshe Edry. They have succeeded in promoting a series of programs, such as the distribution of renovated and new computers during the COVID pandemic, promotion a long-term support program for youths over 16 and youths at risk who are not known to the welfare authorities, and the renovation of the Safed library. As men who consider social activism as an inseparable part of their uncle’s tradition, there is no question that these social values guide their volunteering efforts.
The story of Rafi Edry’s heroism reverberates decades after his death. His family pursues his path through extensive volunteering with the objective of continuing the path of the scion of the family and contributing to the community as part of a moral duty.