Esther, daughter of Avraham and Yaffa (Jamila) Hamawi, was born on August 8th, 1932, in Urfa, Turkey. She made aliya with her mother in 1934, when she was only two years old.
Esther was the eldest of seven children, she attended Ohel Moshe School for Girls in Jerusalem. At the age of 13, she was recruited to Lehi by her best friend’s brother and her underground nickname was “Abigail”. Initially, her role was to distribute propaganda material regarding situation in Israel and to hang posters. She later took part in surveillance of the police and CID. Since her father was a police officer in the British police force, this provided her a good cover and she was not suspected because no one imagined that she could be a Lehi member.
Because of the ongoing searches by the British in residential homes in the city, Lehi members would move the weapons from place to place so they would not be discovered. One of Esther’s duties was to help transfer the weapons and to deliver food at night to Lehi members who were hiding out. While in the Lehi camp, she also took part in combat training and made Molotov cocktails and hand grenades. At night, she and her comrades would attack Jordanian stations and Arab villages around Jerusalem from which Arab residents would shoot at convoys on their way to Jerusalem.
Esther participated in the battles in Mevasseret, Nabi Samuel, and the ambush of the Old City. During the ambush, Esther served as a paramedic, and she later told that she treated a man shot in the head and that during the ambulance ride she held his head high and in the other hand, she held the infusion.
After Bernadotte’s murder in November 1948, when Esther was 16 years old, she was captured and sent to Yaffo prison. She was then moved to Acre Prison, where she spent four months. She was eventually released and returned home. From the two letters she wrote to her family from prison, it was clear that although she was a Lehi fighter, she was still worried about her parents’ reaction when they found out she was in prison.
After the dissolution of Lehi in 1948, Esther’s father did not agree that his daughter would serve in the army, so she was sent to study sewing at the Mizrahi School for Young Women. In 1951, when she was 17.5 years old, she married Ya’akov Nuriel and they had three daughters, Sarah, Nava and Michal.
In 1979, Esther was widowed and a few years later, in 1988, she married Shlomo Mizrahi. Today, Esther lives in Jerusalem and has nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.