Yosef was born in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 14, 1929 to Rabbi Ezra and Naomi Korah. The family made aliyah in 1930 with three children, and nine more were born there. The father was on Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, while the mother raised the dozen children and saw to the community’s needs.
Yosef’s paternal grandfather, Rabbi Hayim Korah, was the Chief Rabbi of Yemen, bearing a letter of approbation from seventy local rabbis. His maternal grandfather, Yosef Yitzhak HaLevi, was the rabbi of Tel Aviv’s Nordia neighborhood.
The family lived in the Menashiya neighborhood of Tel Aviv, on the Jaffa border. In 1935, they were among the two hundred founding families of the HaTikvah neighborhood, under the auspices of the JNF.
Yosef studied in Talmud Torah Kalischer and continued his studies by attending night school. By days, he worked at the Dizengoff and HaMishmar insurance companies, as a courier and clerk. He also spent some time in Bnei Akiva and Young Maccabee.
In 1946, he joined Lehi at his friends’ recommendation. He was trained in ideology and firearms, he put up posters and disseminated materials, and he was active in the recruitment division.
One night in April 1947, when he was returning home, he ran into some British soldiers and was arrested. Unfortunately, he had in his possession Lehi materials which he was planning to distribute. He claimed that he had found the papers in the street, but they did not believe him. He was taken to the CID, interrogated and tortured. He was then sent to the Kishleh in Jaffa, where he spent eleven days locked up with criminal and rapists. Then he was shackled and transferred to Latrun under guard. He was brought to court twice in Jerusalem. He was convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Afterwards, he was still detained at Latrun. After the Partition Plan was announced, he was moved to Atlit. When some prisoners escaped, he took their place during the head count.
He was released on 10 May 1948, and he enlisted in the IDF with the rest of the Lehi members, serving in the armored Battalion 82 of the 8th Brigade. He took a mortar course and became a mortar sergeant. He was demobilized in 1949 and spent a year working in carpentry. He then re-enlisted, serving in a permanent capacity. He was trained as an officer and adjutant. He served for six months as the assistant to the adjutant officer of the Golani Brigade, then was transferred to Battalion 13 as a platoon commander. He was discharged in 1955.
Yosef then worked for 21 years in the Ministry of Housing, as deputy director of population in the Central District. He was then transferred to Jerusalem, reassigned for a year to the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. He retired from the Ministry of Housing in 1976.
He owned a stationery store in Ramat Aviv, as well as a mediation office. He is now a mediator full-time.
He married kindergarten teacher Rivka Levi in 1963. She passed away from an illness in 1990. They had two daughters and a son.