NAME: Levi, Yehuda


DATE OF BIRTH: November 10, 1916

DATE FALLEN: January 15, 1948

Yehuda was born in Ioannina, in the northwest of Greece, on November 10, 1916 to Moshe and Zipporah. His father had an import-export business.  When he was two, the family moved to Milan, where he was educated, joining the Revisionist Movement in 1934. The family made aliyah in 1935. Yehuda remained abroad to finish his studies and made aliyah in 1936. In 1937, he joined Beitar and learned how to use firearms. At the same time, he was taking a correspondence course in economics in the University of Genoa. He moved there for a while, expanding his military knowledge thanks to two friends, one of whom was an army officer and one of whom was in the arms industry. Once he retuned to the Land of Israel, he studied law and economics in Tel Aviv and joined Lehi. The numerous arrests led him to move to Netanya and change his name to Aryeh. He worked in diamond polishing while continuing to practice with firearms. In 1946, he returned to Tel Aviv. With his technical knowledge, he became the head of the technical division of Lehi. With his talent, dedication and imagination, he developed, together with the division staff, more sophisticated weaponry and more powerful explosives, which was used to blow up trains, the Haifa refinery, the Soraya building in Jaffa, et cetera. His division also constructed caches and bunkers.

After the Partition Plan was announced and the Arabs began attacking the Yishuv, he and Lehi Central Committee were in conflict. Yehuda felt strongly that Lehi should disarm and turn all its materials over to the Hagana. The Central Committee vehemently disagreed, proclaiming: “We do not accept the partition in general, or of Jerusalem in particular. The State has yet to established, and many fateful questions are still at issue. It is far too early to talk about disbanding.” Yehuda, however, was stubborn and rejected the Central Committee’s directive, acting on his own initiative. Many of his comrades tried to dissuade him, saying that it was not his place to make such a decision, against the majority, and to carry it out. But he could not be stopped. He was put on trial by the underground. With no other solution, the Central Committee decided, after much debate and with much sorrow, to execute him. He was shot to death on January 15, 1948. Three weeks later, his family was notified about the body’s location, and he was buried in the Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery.

Yehuda was talented, pleasant and a good friend. His death caused much shock. After 34 years, his name was added to the list of fallen Lehi members, in a ceremony attended by his family members, including his hundred-year-old father.