Yosef was born in 1915 in Brest, Belarus (then Brisk, Poland) to Dina and Shlomo, who was one of Zeev Jabotinsky’s adherents. At age fourteen, Yosef joined Beitar on the day the cell in his city was founded. Menahem Begin was one of his comrades.
In 1935, at age twenty, he made aliyah. He arrived as a tourist, but he decided to stay. He joined the Hagana.
In 1940, he volunteered for the British Army in order to fight Nazi Germany. He served in Egypt, in the Western Desert; and in Libya, in Tobruk and in Benghazi. He fought against Rommel’s forces. Due to a serious accident, he was discharged in 1944. After he recovered, he started working as a cabdriver, and he contacted Lehi. His taxi, dispatched from Beit Sho’eiva and Hashmona’im, was used for various important missions, including transporting weapons and explosives, as well as fighters and printed materials.
He often served as the driver for Yitzhak Shamir and Natan Yellin-Mor, Lehi Central Committee members. He kept many secrets faithfully, as he knew dozens of addresses of Lehi members.
In August 1944, he was part of the Lehi assassination operation against High Commissioner MacMichael in Jerusalem. The same year, he married Adele Goldberg. They had two children, Dinah and Shlomo.
He served in Battalion 71 of the 7th Brigade in the War of Independence, participating in the battles for Latrun and the Galilee as a transportation sergeant. After his demobilization, he went into business.