‘Ben-Yehuda Street incident’ – IsraCast is publishing photos of the British car bombings in Jerusalem before the end of the mandate in 1948. 50 Jews were killed, with more than 100 injured. The photos were taken by the well known photographer David Rubinger.
Between January and March 1948, the Jewish community in Jerusalem suffered blow after blow. On January l, a booby-trapped car exploded in Hasolel Street (present-day Hahavatzelet Street) near the editorial offices of the Palestine Post, the Jewish-owned English-language daily. The building was destroyed and the printing press set alight; nearby buildings were damaged and there were many casualties. The Jewish authorities, on the basis of eye-witness reports, were convinced that British soldiers had detonated the car bomb and openly accused the British of carrying out this horrific act.
On February 22, another tragedy – later known as the ‘Ben-Yehuda Street incident’ – occurred in Jerusalem. At 6:15 a.m. a convoy of three military trucks accompanied by an armored police vehicle approached the Jewish check-post in Romema. The British soldiers prevented the guards at the check-post from examining the contents of the vehicles and the convoy continued on its way to the center of Jerusalem. It halted at the top of the Ben-Yehuda Street. The soldiers abandoned the trucks and left the site in the armored car.
Shortly afterwards, Jerusalem was shaken by a huge explosion. Four buildings crumbled, their residents killed or trapped under the debris. Jerusalem civilians were summoned to transport the wounded to hospital and search for bodies amid the rubble. Some 50 Jews were killed, with more than 100 injured.
The city was stunned. From the testimony of the guards at Romema, it was clear that it had been a deliberate and well-planned act of sabotage on the part of the British.