NAME: Atzmon (Binyamin) Mazal

LEHI ALIAS: Yaira-Ruth

DATE OF BIRTH: March 1931

Mazal was born in Tel Aviv, in March 1931, to Yechia and Sara Binyamin, both immigrants from Yemen. Yechia founded the first bakery beyond the Jaffa walls in Neve Shalom in 1890, and the family lived above it on Neve Shalom Street. When she turned a year old, her father died. Sarah, her mother, was left to raise two young children and run the bakery.

Mazal studied at the girls’ Elementary School in Naveh Zedek and when she finished, she began working in a small factory not far from home. In 1946 she joined Lehi in the Youth Division in Tel Aviv and Rehovot. After being recruited to Lehi, she would sneak out the window at night to hang posters, without her mother or brother finding out. On one occasion she was caught by a British police officer and was put on trial. When defending herself, she claimed she was on her way home from work at the factory. She lied about her age and said she was 15 years old (when she was really 16) and was tried as a youth rather than an adult. The lawyer, who was convinced of her innocence, fought for her and managed to confuse the British policeman and she was acquitted. Later, she found out that the factory owner, who had come to testify, was also a Lehi member. When asked if she would continue hanging posters, she told her instructor that the arrest only strengthened her and she went out with another group on a mission to hang posters in Holon in 1947. The group was caught, and Mazal held in her hand Hanna Eyal ‘Yael’’s bag which had in it the addresses of all the members in her cell.

While in detention, Hannah “Yael” ate all the incriminating papers. Since this was her second time getting caught, which would lead to a long prison sentence, she was advised by Lehi not to go to trial and thus had to “go underground.” She was issued a fake ID and put her to work on a dairy farm in Rehovot. She worked with other Lehi members who were also on the run from the British. After a while, she was given a small windowless cell in Tel Aviv with a bed and that’s where she stayed until the declaration of independence.

The 14th of May, the day of the declaration of independence of Israel, was also Mazal’s personal Independence Day since she could finally return home, after a whole year. That evening, Arab rioters burned down the room she lived in in Tel Aviv. Immediately afterwards, she arrived at Sheih Munis and from there to a Combat Medics course and to serve in the 8th Brigade, in Commando Unit 89 under Moshe Dayan, Commander of the Battalion, and Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Sade, Commander of the Brigade. Her last combat was in Auja al-Hafir, in which the battalion suffered serious injuries. For her service in Lehi, she received the Lehi badge. She later married Meir Atzmon, who fought alongside her in the Harel Brigade in Auja al-Hafir and Nitzana. Decades later, their daughter Vered lived and taught in the Nitzana youth village, thus closing the circle. Mazal completed her matriculation exams and studied education at Seminar HaKibbutzim. She taught at a Special Education School in Lod and was also the school Principal.

Mazal gave birth to five children and worked in the village of Azar growing flowers and house plants. Today she has 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.