Leaving the Walls

Benjamin’s brother, Yosef, describes the departure from the walls: “It was in the year 1872. I was then about five years old. One day, my father, RIP, came to the Talmud Torah, where I studied, and told me to go with him. As I stepped out into the courtyard, he joyfully said, ‘We are becoming villagers; from now on, we are establishing our home in the Shiloah village near the city. There we will live and seek light and air, no longer drinking from heated wells, and we will no longer eat bought vegetables, for we will have a living water spring on our right, and we will sow vegetables and eat them.'”

His family

On the 13th of Kislev (November 18, 1896), Benjamin married Estheria Rachel, daughter of Rabbi Chai Nevo (A pairing of the two privileged families in the Sephardic community in Jerusalem), who passed away on the 23rd of Cheshvan 1921. It seems that the Sephardic undertaker, a member of the Parnas family, was a former student of Benjamin, as he mentions her in the register with the title “wife of my Mr. Nevo.”

Little is known about his life: In the ‘Tzvi newspaper’ dated June 3, 1898, there is a short article about the opening of the 8th grade at the school of the Alliance Universal Israelite (in the location of the Clal Center today) and Benjamin’s employment as a Hebrew teacher. Around the same time as the founding of the British Mandates, the school closed, and Benjamin found his livelihood as a municipal employee until his retirement.

binyamin meyuhas
binyamin meyuhas

The Death of Benjamin Meuhas

Around 11:00 PM on the night between Sunday and Monday, the 22nd of Shevat 1948 (February 1, 1948), a massive explosion was heard in the center of Jerusalem. A truck loaded with explosives that had been brought to the site by the terrorist Abu Khalil Jnejo, with the assistance of defected British soldiers, was detonated. One of the newspaper’s employees and two building residents were killed. Benjamin Meuhas, who lived in the nearby building, jumped from his apartment window to escape the fire. However, it did not help, and he was taken to Hadassah Hospital. A week later, on the 27th of Shevat 5708 (February 7, 1948), he succumbed to his injuries.

The letter sent by his father Rahamim to his brother Yehuda, who lived in Tel Aviv, said:

“… as I feared for seven days, a tragic event has occurred – dear Father is no longer with us.

He did not dream of such an end even in his most challenging moments, and there were quite a few in his lifetime, just like everyone else.

If someone were to summarize Father’s life, it would be unfortunate and full of sorrow – work and financial worries from his earliest years until his last moments. It’s hard to describe how much he longed for you, and especially how much he longed for Noga, his only granddaughter whom he didn’t have the chance to see much before his painful death. It’s unfortunate for him as a father and a father who was devoted up to his last breath and even more painful with his tragic and agonizing death…

A day before his death, I asked him if he wanted me to bring you to the hospital to see him, and he answered me in half-consciousness that it’s better you don’t come since the roads are unsafe.

Such a sacrifice to which this man was willing to sacrifice for his sons and his entire family was rare in the days of the generation of selfishness. He always thought of giving, and despite all that, he barely received one percent in return…”

Holding a funeral on the Mount of Olives involved many dangers at the time and was only possible with a security escort. Therefore, two days later, on the 29th of Shevat (February 9, 1948), the funeral took place, and Benjamin and four others were buried in the Sephardic section.

Two weeks after the funeral, the Mount of Olives was outside the Jewish area until the Six-Day War, so his grave remained unmarked. About two years ago, during the cemetery restoration operations by the Jerusalem Development Authority, graves were set up in the area, and Benjamin’s grave was marked without a name. However, thanks to the inscriptions in the Parnas family’s records, we are now able to identify the grave accurately.

In 2011 (22 in Nisan), The fallen soldiers of the War of Independence, including Benjamin, were granted honorary citizenship of the State of Israel.

Benjamin Meuhas's tumb
Benjamin Meuhas's tumb