Born in Smarhoń (now in Hrodna Voblast, Belarus), Vilna district in the Russian Empire, he immigrated with his family at the age of three to Palestine, where his father became a Hebrew teacher at a Tel-Aviv elementary school. When the 1929 Hebron massacre broke out, he joined the Haganah in Jerusalem, where he was studying philosophy and mathematics at the Hebrew University. When the Irgun was established, he was one of its first members, and displayed outstanding military skills.
In 1937 he was appointed by the Irgun as the first Commander of Jerusalem District and a year later Commander in Chief of the Irgun. His term as leader was especially marked by violence against Arabs, including a sequence of market-place bombings.
On May 17, 1941 he was sent, with three of his comrades including Ya'akov Meridor, to Iraq on behalf of the British army to fight against al-Gaylani pro-axis regime. On May 20, a bomb from a German aircraft killed him and the British officer with him near an oil deposit in Habbaniyah. Meridor returned to Palestine and took over command of the Irgun.
In 1955 his remains were exhumed and transferred to Cyprus, and again in 1961 to Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery. His sister, Esther was later a member of the Knesset for Herut, the party founded by Irgun leader Menachem Begin.
- Daniel Levine: The Birth of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House Ltd., 1991. ISBN 965-229-071-8.
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