Yosef was born on Yom Kippur 1909 in the Batei Ungarin neighborhood of Jerusalem to Rivka and Meir. He was educated in the institutions of the Old Yishuv, but afterwards he pursued a general education, even auditing courses at the university. From a young age, he was occupied with the nationalist idea, and during the riots of 1929, he joined the Hagana. Later, he was an activist in the nationalist camp.
In 1928, he married Miriam Eliach. The family had five children and numerous grandchildren.
He joined Lehi to fight the British in the underground. For many years, he continued to volunteer for the auxiliary police in Jerusalem.
From a young age, he was heavily involved in writing, researching and gathering information about the Land of Israel, its history and its people. In particular, he was interested in the city of Jerusalem. Due to his proficiency in Hebrew language, he learned everything about the Old City, becoming an expert without peer. He was the first secretary of the Society for Study of the Land of Israel and its Antiquities, and he was also involved in purchasing land in the Jerusalem area.
After the establishment of the State and his discharge from the IDF, Yosef continued working in various frameworks, including as the secretary of the Brit Yedidei HaGer (an organization dedicated to dealing with converts). He was also an activist with the Temple Mount Faithful, among other activities. Yosef loved Jerusalem deeply and faithfully throughout his life, and he would not leave it even for a day, until he died on 20 Adar 5735 (1975). He was buried on the Mount of Olives.