NAME: Moshe Raphael



DATE FALLEN: January 23,1948

Raphael was the son of Jules and Mathilda, born in Peru in 1926. The family had two sons and a daughter. He received the nom de guerre Shaul, apparently because it was the Hebrew name of his father.

Raphael was among the fighters in the South, mainly active around where he lived, in Rehovot. His sister Malka, the last of the family (the older brother Maurice was killed in an accident in France), still recalls some of the events of his last two years. He used his parents’ home more than once to hide dangerous materials.

Once, he hid a box of grenades under his bed, and his mother discovered them. She was very upset and told him to get rid of it. A few months later he was injured in an operation, but he claimed that he had hit a rock in the sea. His sister recalls that every two days they would come to transport him to the synagogue on Lewinsky Street in Tel Aviv, where there was a clinic for Lehi members.

After some time, he asked his mother (his father had already passed away) for permission to leave the house and live on a kibbutz. Despite her opposition, Raphael left, and his mother and sister did not know where he was living. For a few months, they heard nothing from him. British soldiers would come to the house to search it, but they never found anything. By chance, Malka ran into Raphael on the street in Tel Aviv and was understandably thrilled to see him. However, he warned her not to tell anyone that she had seen him, even their mother. This was the last time she saw him alive.

Raphael was one of the last casualties before the State was established. On January 23,1948, a Lehi cell attempted to disarm a British unit which had the temerity to enter Rehovot. The operation was successful, and a number of machine guns and grenades were seized, but a British Army jeep arrived, and in the ensuing firefight, a heavy price was paid: Raphael was felled by a British bullet, just meters from safety.

For many years, Raphael was not recognized as one of Israel’s fallen, and his name was missing from the Yizkor memorial album. Only after a number of years and appeals was he recognized as one of the fallen in Israel’s wars.