NAME: Kairouani, Avraham

LEHI ALIAS: Hillel

DATE OF BIRTH: 1903

DATE OF DEATH: August 8, 1962

Avraham was born in Jerusalem in 1903 to his father Shalom David, a neighborhood rabbi and spiritual leader, and his mother Simcha. They lived in the Salaam (Beit Shalom) neighborhood, a part of Beit Israel populated by Yemenite Jews. Avraham was a ginger, atypical for Yemenite Jews, and this gave him his nickname. His father inculcated in him a love of Torah and the Jewish people, and Avraham was a loyal son, passionately dedicated to the things held most sacred by the Nation of Israel. He believed fully in the Coming of the Messiah.

His father trained him as a ritual scribe, and Avraham would write Torah scrolls, mezuzot and tefillin. He became the beadle and sexton of the local synagogue, and he was a cantor as well.

Naturally, he joined Lehi, where he received the nom de guerre Hillel. He always wore a long coat, a sort of jellabiya. In fact, between this, his full beard and his long, curly peyot, he was often called Hillel the Elder, though he was relatively young.

His underground activity did not demand that he leave his house; on the contrary, sitting in his house, adjacent to the synagogue, he provided invaluable service. Both his house and the synagogue were at the underground’s disposal. It was open day and night, and Avraham was always on call and ready to help. On the roof of the synagogue, he hid a cache for arms, ammunition and explosives. Lehi members would go in and out whenever they needed weapons. Avraham would quickly and nimbly climb up to the roof, take out whatever was needed, and bring down the “packages.”

Often the planning would take place in his house, and the fighters would depart from there. They would also return after the operation was done to return the equipment. At times, he would smuggle weapons from one place to another without the slightest worry. “Nothing can happen to me,” he was wont to say. Whenever anyone would express concern about having an arms cache on top of a synagogue, Avraham would reassure the young men by saying: “Here is Divine Providence. You have nothing to be concerned about. Nothing can happen here.” He was right, until the State was established.

Avraham married Simcha and they had two sons. He recruited friends and family to Lehi and educated his children to follow in his path. His son Ahiasaf (Uzi) was an active Lehi member, but he was unfortunately killed in the explosion at Camp Dror in Talbiyeh.

Avraham himself also died tragically. On August 8,1962, hours before the Fast of 9 Av, he was hit by a motorcycle as he walked down the road near Mikveh Israel. He did not survive this accident, perishing before his sixtieth birthday.

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