NAME: Moshe, Benzion


DATE OF BIRTH: January 9, 1930

Benzion was born to Yaakov and Hannah on 9 January 1930 in Aden, Yemen. He made aliyah at age three, together with his parents and three of his brothers, by way of the Suez Canal. They settled in Tel Aviv’s Kerem Teimanim. Their Arab landlord treated them well. He studied in Talmud Torah Teimanim on Kalischer Street. Due to his father’s ill health, at age eleven he had to go to work, without his mother’s knowledge, in order to help support his family.

In 1945, he joined Beitar, then a youth cell of Lehi a few months later. He was soon caught by the British police on Herzl Street, at about 3 AM, while putting up mourning announcements for Naphtali Lubinchik. Moshe was transferred to the police station at the corner of HaAliyah and Salameh, where he was interrogated and savagely beaten to reveal his name and address. Only after 24 hours, he gave his personal information, and he was then released until he could be put on trial. He was given a choice to be tried before a British official or an Arab judge. He picked the latter and was sentenced to ten days in juvenile detention or a fine of two pounds, which he paid.

After the trial, he joined the recruitment division and then Department 6, in which he was given missions, at time very difficult ones. After the Partition Plan was announced, he was sent on combat missions, including robbing Barclays Bank on Allenby Street. After he enlisted in the IDF, he was assigned to 8th Brigade, Company C of Battalion 82. He fought in all of the battalion’s battles: Yehudia, Kfar Ana, Lod, Der Tarif, Beit Naballah, Qula, Mazra’a, Wilhelma, Faluja and Beersheba.

In the battle at Iraq al-Suwaydan, on 9 November 1948, he was in a half-track driven by the heroic Gana Siman-Tov. The half-track was hit, and five of the men in it (all Lehi members) were killed, while two were seriously injured and had their legs amputated. Benzion was also injured, but he was the only one to survive with all of his limbs. He was discharged in 1949 and served in the reserves until 1985.

He worked in construction, in paving, until he retired at age 65.

In 1958, he married Esther Haratz, and they live in Jerusalem. They have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.