NAME: Betzal’el Ya’acov

LEHI ALIAS: “Kushi” Chavakuk

DATE OF BIRTH: October 19, 1924

DATE OF DEATH: October 5, 2014

Ya’acov,  son of Avraham and Leah, was born in the Bucharian  neighbourhood of Jerusalem, October 19,1924, to a traditional family from Mashad Iran, who’d come at the beginning of the century. He had a brother and two sisters. His father earned his living looking after properties of Iranian Jews who’d built houses in Israel but remained abroad. Ya’acov studied in a ‘Cheder’, in a Talmud-Torah school and at  ‘Alliance’. Aged 10 he joined Maccabi-Tsa’ir and participated in the second “Maccabiya”. Aged 14 he joined the “National Hebrew Youth Alliance”, an Etzel Cell, where he received his first weapons course. Training took place at  Kibbutz Ashdot-Ya’acov, Afikim, Sha’ar HaGolan and Ginossar with  participants assisting in guard-duties  and in work. After the division he joined  Etzel. When Etzel split he joined Lehi, accepted by Yair himself. He took part collecting funds and in recruitment, especially of members from Haifa’s ‘Metsada’ youth, which he had helped establish and  was its Jerusalem Branch secretary.  He was arrested 1944 due to an informer, imprisoned in the Kishleh Prison,  interrogated, then sent to  Latrun. In December 1945 he was exiled to Eritrea with 55 other prisoners then transferred to Gilgil Kenya. He was active in the Drama group, in publishing the prisoners’ newspaper ‘Badad’, and he helped printing Uzi Arnon’s book, ‘The Mouth and the Ear’. July 1948 he returned to Israel with the last group of exiles. The day after his return, Ya’acov joined the army and became a physical education instructor, suiting his skills. He organised courses for sports instructors in the Northern Sector, and taught at the sports instructors’ school at ‘Bahad III’ Base and other Bases. Discharged 1950, he worked as a supervisor in various government institutions. Ya’acov has lived in Beer-Sheba since 1957. In 1961 he married Yochevet Dravkin, teacher in a teachers’ academy.They have two daughters and a son: Sheri, who organises and produces events, Leah, Dr. of Microbiology, and Asher, Landscape Architect. The couple have two grandchildren. Since retirement, Ya’acov volunteers  helping immigrant families from the Soviet Union.

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