It was during the war for Israel’s Independence, when the Arabs were at war with us across all of Israel. Even in Jerusalem the battles were fierce with the Jordanian Legion’s soldiers laying siege on the old city and raining a fire of bullets on it.
Those who were fortified in their old city homes fought for their lives and caused great loses to the Jordanians. But in the end the battle turned against the Jews there. They knew that if they don’t surrender they would all get killed.
Negotiations began between the Commanders of the Jordan Legion and the rabbis of the old city regarding the surrender of Jerusalem’s Jews. It was agreed that that the rabbis of the old city, Rabbi Yisrael Zev Mintzberg and Rabbi Ben Tzion Chazan who was a student of the Ben Ish Chai and came to Israel as the Ben Ish Chai requested from him, would be the Rabbis that would deliver the letter of surrender of the Jewish quarter commanders to the Jordanian commanders.
The appointed hour came. The Rabbis took the letter of the Jewish commanders and left the walls of the old city when they suddenly heard shouts of Allah Akhbar and heard the shrieks of gunfire shooting at them. The rabbis did not need to lift their heads to know that a Jordanian sharpshooter wanted to kill them. The experienced sharpshooter pointed his weapon at the rabbis and pulled the trigger. Two bullets whizzed by Rabbi Chazan and one actually scratched his face.
Rabbi Chazan did not lose his calm and he asked silently, “Where are you Chacham Yosef Chaim? Where are you?” He remembered that the Ben Ish Chai, Rabbi Yosef Chaim promised that no harm would befall him.
At that moment the shooting stopped… after a few minutes the Rabbis reached the command headquarters of the Jordan Legion and delivered the letter of surrender with bent over heads. Suddenly the sharpshooter came running in and asked him: “What did you shout out there before? As soon as you said it my gun stopped working!”
“Indeed”, said Rabbi Chazan with tears streaming down his cheeks, “The promise of my Rabbi the Ben Ish Chai is what protected me! His promise that no harm would befall me saved my life”.