NAME: Merhav, Meir

LEHI ALIAS: Levi

DATE OF BIRTH: December 28, 1920

DATE OF DEATH: August 6, 1999

Meir was born on December 28, 1920 in Hagen, Germany to Atara and Avraham Landsberg. When Hitler came to power, the father, who was a Zionist, decided to leave Germany. In 1933, they made aliyah and settled in Haifa. Meir studied for a year in the Netzach Israel School, and then at Bialik Gymnasium. He joined Beitar, then IZL, where he underwent a course and was appointed a company commander. With the split in IZL, they followed Yair to Lehi. He set up a youth group called Matityahu’s Scouts, which served to recruit young men and women for the underground. After Yair’s murder in February 1942, Meir decided that there was no successor and he should join the Hagana.

In late 1942, he joined the British Army and was stationed at Kurdani. The CID discovered his past and in 1944 he was kicked out of the Army and sent to Latrun. In October 1944, he was exiled, with the first group of 251 IZL and Lehi prisoners to Eritrea. When some time had passed, they were sent to Carthago, Sudan, then returned to Eritrea. In 22.10.1945, Meir was one of the prisoners transported to Fort Baldissera, near Asmara. They were held there for two months, and afterwards they were flown back to the Land of Israel and released.

In 1946, he married Rivka Rabinowitz. He joined the Hagana, and in the War of Independence, he was a squad commander in the Carmel Brigade, Battalion 22. In 1948, they had their first daughter (who died of polio in 1950). They then moved to Jerusalem, where they had another daughter and a son.

Meir continued studying and finished a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. As an economist, he worked in the research department of the Bank of Israel. In 1954-1956, he was an Israel Bonds representative in Switzerland. In 1963, he left with his family for New York to work at the United Nations’ division for developing countries. At the same time, he pursued a PhD in economics at the New School for Social Research. In the 1970s, he became an economic adviser to the Venezuelan government.

Meir became the economics editor for the Jerusalem Post, and he spent a year-and-a-half in Germany reporting on the Common Market. As a journalist, he would publish political pieces, and he advocated for recognition of the Palestinians. These pieces made a great impression, and this led to his being invited to give a series of lectures in 1985. After retiring, he edited books and other publications about economics.

He passed away on August 6, 1999, and he was buried in the Nes Harim Cemetery.

He left a wife, two children, and numerous grandchildren.

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