BENWAISH, ABRAHAM (16th–17th centuries), banker to the sultan of Morocco Aḥmad al-Manṣūr in Marrakesh (south Morocco) and later superintendent of finances (until 1627). Benwaish was extremely influential and it was because of him that members of the Pallache family were appointed ambassadors of Morocco to Holland. He was responsible for one of his relatives, Abraham Buzaglo-Azulay, being sent to Venice in 1606 to buy expensive goods for the ruler. Benwaish was appointed nagid of the Jews of the kingdom of marrakesh and promoted study there. In his capacity as superintendent of finance he discriminated against the English and Dutch Christians in favor of his coreligionists, a policy which brought protests from the European governments. Accused of embezzlement, he had no difficulty in clearing himself. His descendant SAMUEL (1738–1817), dayyan of Meknès , was renowned for his piety. His responsa are extant in manuscript. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: SIHM, Angleterre, 2 (1925), 233, 363, 441, 468; 3 (1936), 64, 66, 68–70; Pays-Bas, 1 (1906), 343, 500; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 106, 111, 196; J. Ben-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), 121; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 225. (David Corcos)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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