NAME: Alkalai Ya’acov

LEHI ALIAS: Tzvi

DATE OF BIRTH: June 9, 1923

DATE OF DEATH: July 8, 1993

Ya’acov was born in Haifa on June 9, 1923 to  Menachem, a  Jerusalemite, and Simcha a native of Turkey. Ya’acov,  known as Jacques, spent his infancy in the fearful atmosphere resulting from bloodshed from Arab attacks, while the foreign British mandate, was  preventing  rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. Filled with the nationalist atmosphere  prevailing at home  his brother joined the Haganah while he joined Lehi in 1945. Jacques served at the Operations Division, learnt weapons usage, and took part in various anti-British activities. By stroke of fate, Jacques got accepted for work at a main British institution – the Haifa Railways Workshops, where the Regime’s transport equipment was located: cranes, locomotives, train wagons, compressors, etc. His knowledge of the installations and their functioning, was invaluable to the underground. When it was decided to sabotage the workshops, the underground used Jacques’ detailed knowledge. He prepared maps, diagrams, gave explanations and briefed the operation’s heads about the details of its execution; using the Tel–Aviv train station as a model, he  demonstrated the functioning of the installations. According to his plans, Lehi fighters performed this courageous operation on 17.06.1946.  Jacques took part in the operation; the workshop installations were destroyed but while retreating, the fighters encountered a British ambush. In all, eleven fighters were killed. Others, including Jacques, were injured and taken prisoner. Jacques was severely injured in his right knee, and operated on several times. He and his friends were tried and given the death penalty. However, their sentence was replaced by life imprisonment. After eight  months in the hospital, he was transferred to  Akko Prison. He could not escape with the other detainees due to his condition. Nonetheless when he was transferred to the Atlit Camp 1947, he escaped by hiding in a suitcase. He was declared a disabled IDF Veteran but joined the war effort by working in weapons production. After the war, he married  girlfriend Violet  Baja; they had a daughter and two grandchildren. He worked as Repairs Manager at the Haifa Shipbuilding facilities. Ya’acov died on July 8, 1993.

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