Yosef was born in 1926 in Yemen to his parents Hannah and Mahfouz. His family made aliyah in 1933 for religious and nationalist reasons. The family, which had four children, lived in Jaffa, where the father was a merchant.
During the riots of 1936, the family moved to Kfar Saba, where the father worked in agriculture and construction. The mother was a homemaker. When Yosef finished his studies in elementary school, he started working in Netanya in diamond polishing, helping support his family.
In 1938, he joined Beitar; in 1939, IZL; when the split occurred, Lehi.
Yosef was active in the Kfar Saba area, putting up posters and disseminating promotional materials, both training with firearms and smuggling them. In addition, he trailed British troops. His family members did not know about his underground activities. He was arrested in Netanya in the diamond factory, due to informers. He was moved to Tulkarm, from there to Jerusalem, then held in Latrun for a year.
He was exiled to Africa in the eighth such deportation by the British, one of 55 exiles. He arrived on 20 December 1945, was detained in Sembel (near Asmara, Eritrea) and Gilgil (Kenya) and only returned on 11 March 1948.
Along with the other Lehi members, he enlisted in the IDF at Sheikh Munis and joined Battalion 82, serving in an armored unit. He fought at Lod and Ramleh, as well in the Negev, the capture of Beersheba and more. He suffered a head injury at Yehudia, when his armored truck was hit. After treatment and hospitalization, he returned to his unit. He was recognized as an IDF disabled person.
After his demobilization, he went back to the Netanya diamond industry. In 1960, he married Yona Koresh, of Kfar Saba, who worked for the Leumit Health Fund. They have five children.