NAME: Bentov (Benis) Ya’akov

LEHI ALIAS: Kolchoznik

DATE OF BIRTH: 13 May, 1919

DATE OF DEATH: 15 June, 2014

Ya’akov was born on May 13th, 1919, in Lutsk, Poland. At the age of 10, he joined Beitar and two years before the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Polish Army. Due to his light hair and resemblance to a Russian peasant, he was nicknamed “Kolchoznik”. As part of the Polish army, he reached the Caspian Sea and from there sailed to Persia. He then sailed with his company on a British Army ship through the Indian Ocean to Suez, and from the port of Suez, he took the train to Rehovot and to one of the Polish military camps in Castina. After arriving in Israel, Ya’akov got all the Jews in his battalion a vacation for Shavuot. They arrived in Tel Aviv and through the Jewish agency they were dispersed throughout the country. In Tel Aviv, he connected with Hasia (Shapira-Reuveni) and Baruch Avnon “Boki”. Ya’akov joined the Lehi underground in a cell with the Polish group, tother with the redhead (Avraham Steinberg) and a few others. In the underground, he continued to use the nickname given to him in the Polish army “Kolchoznik”. He trained in weapons, was in the Operations Division and the Technical Department. He participated in the great procurement operation in Holon, in the operation against the High Commissioner in 1944, commanded the operation to blow up the Naaman Bridge, prepared the car for the explosion in Sarona, he prepared mines in the form of stones for road bombing operations and the Kalaniot operation on Yarkon Street in Tel Aviv, and participated in the attack on Kfar Sirkin. In one case, he injured his leg from a bullet discharge. Ya’akov was active in the underground for 6 years until it’s dissolution. In 1946, Ya’akov married Lehi member Malka “Michal” Schwartz. After the declaration of independence, he enlisted in the Air Force and was one of the founders of the First Fighter Squadron of the Air Force. He served as an Armament Officer at the airport in Ramat David and Tel Nof. He was discharged from the IDF in 1949, a year after his enlistment. After his discharge, he worked in a military car factory, and then at Solel Boneh. He lived with his family in the Carmel in Haifa, and in 1954 decided to move to Kibbutz Kabri. Malka and Ya’akov have three children and nine grandchildren. Ya’akov died on June 15th, 2014 and was laid to rest in the cemetery in Kibbutz Kabri.