Why It’s Important to Memorialize the Legacy of Israel’s Brave Warrior Rafi Edry
by Sumona Community and Social Services 28 June 2022
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Israel?
Like most people, your mind must have already conjured images of a bustling entrepreneurial hub. It isn’t surprising considering that the country has emerged as a global superpower in recent years.
But most people forget that there’s a tumultuous past behind Israel’s bleeding-edge tech advancements and stellar economic growth. Nearly 4,000 warriors lost their lives for the establishment of the State of Israel. The country would likely never have witnessed such prosperity and growth without their sacrifices.
Born in Safed in 1924, Refael (Rafi) Edry was one of those freedom fighters who were martyred in Israel’s War of Independence. He died at the young age of 24, protecting his fellow citizens from enemy forces.
Rafi Edry’s Unwavering Fighting Spirit
Rafi Edry had the chance to live a comfortable and peaceful life in Safed. He belonged to a respectable family that had lived for generations in the city. He even had a job as an electrician.
But a cozy life filled with worldly pleasures didn’t appeal to him. He wanted to do something for the upliftment of the people in his community. That led him to become actively involved in the “Working Youth” movement. He found purpose in training the city’s younger generations.
The next stepping stone in Rafi Edry’s life came when he joined the military as battalion commander. It didn’t take him long to become an expert in weapon hideouts. Also, he was known for being an exceptional patrolman.
When the War of Independence broke out in Israel, Safed was one of the first cities to bear the brunt. Rafi Edry played an instrumental role in defending his birthplace and driving enemy forces away.
When the British left Safed, Rafi Edry commemorated the occasion by hoisting an improvised Israeli flag on top of a hotel adjacent to the British police building. Flames from an incendiary fire near him couldn’t deter his passion for his homeland. That was weeks before the establishment of the State of Israel.
Following the victory in Safed, he had the opportunity to stay back in his hometown as a commander. He was responsible for watching enemy warehouses. But he couldn’t settle into the role of a passive bystander while other soldiers fought on the battlefield.
So, he decided to join the war in the Negev despite several pleas from his friends and family in Safed. On July 28, 1948, Rafi Edry was martyred during an enemy shelling near Revivim.
The Brave Warrior’s Legacy
While Rafi Edry’s life was cut short, he never lived a moment with fear and regret. Instead, he followed his instincts and took the plunge to serve his homeland and fellow citizens. People like him show the world how to become an unstoppable force.
His courage, resilience, and perseverance turned him into a great warrior who’s fondly remembered even 74 years after his death. Younger generations in Safed have grown up listening to stories of Rafi Edry’s bravery and determination. He’s the kind of role model they need during tough times.
His family has raised NIS 3 million (close to $900,000) for the construction of a memorial to honor his legacy. Titled Yad Labanim, the memorial will be built in Safed’s Saraya compound. The Israel Antiquities Authority has already commenced rescue excavations before construction begins.
His nephews, Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Refael Edry (also known as Rafi Edry), believe the idea behind the memorial is to raise awareness about the sacrifices of war heroes, whose sacrifices have steered Israel on the path of unprecedented growth and power. Also, it’ll help highlight the struggles of the Jewish community during the War of Independence.
However, Rafi Edry (the nephew) believes that the most significant impact of the memorial is that it’ll help future generations in Safed understand how far they’ve come. It’ll familiarize them with the brave warrior’s story and inspire them to work towards their goals.
Rafi Edry had barely crossed his teenage years when he joined an operation in the village of Sasa. All he had was a machine gun, which he used to protect his fellow warriors against the enemy.
In a world where power and influence are measured in terms of social media following, warriors like Rafi Edry are the real heroes who teach youngsters about the importance of being brave, resilient, and selfless. Perpetuating their legacy will help future generations find their life’s purpose and make the world a better place.