P. 177

The Chairman of the Executive David Ben-Gurion conducted the war from his office in Tel Aviv; the Head of the Political Department Moshe Sharett (Shertok) managed the political struggle at the UN center in New York; Golda Meir (Meyerson), Director of the Political Department, was in the United States for the purpose of raising funds for the fighting. Another member of the Executive, Eliyahu Dobkin, was also outside of the building – in a meeting in Jerusalem concerning the ongoing security of the city's Jews.
Upon hearing the massive explosion and seeing the heavy smoke billowing above the compound of the National Institutions, hundreds of Jerusalem residents rushed to the area in order to assist. Among them were dozens of older students of the nearby Gymnasia Rehavia. One of them, 16-year- old David Dobkin, was in the middle of a physics lesson, and within three minutes found himself groping through smoke-filled corridors on his way to the office of his father, Eliyahu Dobkin. When he did not find his father, his fears intensified.
The office was completely destroyed and he discovered several minutes later that his father's secretary, the Head of the Organization Department and the person responsible for the Jewish Agency's emissaries, suffered minor wounds. Had Dobkin the elder sat at his table, he would undoubtedly have been injured, since an entire wall had collapsed and crashed the table.
Many miracles occurred that day. Dr. Walter Eytan hosted Edwin Samuel, the Director of the Palestine Broadcasting Service, in his office. The two were discussing radio programs that interest the Jewish Agency when suddenly a tremendous thunderclap was heard and the entire room filled with glass shards and pieces of plaster that fell from the ceiling. Eytan told: "The shards hit both of us, yet I immediately noticed that Mr. Samuel was hurt worse than me and he was taken for treatment." Eventually it became clear that both sustained light wounds.
The Spokesman for the Jewish Agency, Gershon Hirsch, was also lightly injured in his forehead. He was bandaged and appeared two and a half hours later in the meeting hall, delivering a daily report on the situation in the Land of Israel to the representatives of the local and foreign press. Photographers hurried to photograph him, and the reporters telegraphed to their newspapers from "an actual warzone."
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the President of the Jewish National Council and later Israel's second president, worked in his room in the left wing of the building, not from the offices of Keren Hayesod. The explosion inflicted damage to his office but he was not injured, which did not prevent Abdullah Tal, a senior officer in the Transjordanian Arab Legion, to write in his memoirs that Ben-Zvi was killed with Dr. Leib Yaffe.
Not everyone was so lucky. Leib Yaffe's secretary, Michal Raami-Berlin, was killed in the room adjacent to his office when a wall fell on her. A young emissary named Chai Zaken Polatoff, who was not yet 18 years old, was seriously injured in the corridor of the Keren Hayesod Wing when arriving there to receive a package. Shortly afterwards, the doctors had to pronounce his death.

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