NAME: Cohen, Ephraim

LEHI ALIAS: Israel

DATE OF BIRTH: January 31, 1930

DATE OF DEATH: July 1, 1995

Ephraim was born in Istanbul on January 31,1930 to Mordechai and Corinne. When he was five, the family made aliyah to Jerusalem. He had three sisters. His oldest sister, Penina, joined IZL. His father Mordechai opened a store selling second-hand clothing from the United States, in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, but when the riots began in 1936, his store was burned down by Arabs. A similar fate befell another store on Shama Street, in the commercial center. In 1947, after the announcement of the Partition Plan, an Arab mob destroyed all the Jewish stores in the area. The father, who was active in Mishmar HaAm, was killed by an Arab sniper while he was working on the fortification of Abu Tor.

Ephraim studied in the municipal elementary school for boys and then in the religious high school Maale. Together with his classmate, Alexander Rubowitz, he was one of the first youths to join Lehi in early 1944, at age fourteen. They were all involved with disseminating promotional materials and putting up posters. On one occasion, they miraculously survived when the British policemen waiting to ambush them opened fire with pistols and rifles. His Lehi activity became known to the school principal, Professor Ephraim Urbach, and Ephraim and his friends were expelled for this “offense,” including Alexander Rubowitz. Afterwards, he continued working in the intelligence division, Department 6.

When the War of Independence began, he fought in Lehi units in Jerusalem, including as part of the force trying to liberate the Old City on 14-15 May and 17 July 1948. With the disbanding of Lehi, he joined the IDF, working in the Dutch Embassy after being demobilized. After a short period, he moved on to the Central Zionist Archives, where he worked until he retired.

He passed away on July 1,1995, after suffering heart disease. He is buried in Givat Shaul.

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