Eliyahu was born in 1911 in Liepāja, Latvia. He was the baby of the family, which had five sisters and two brothers. His mother, Golda née Levinson, raised the family alone. His father Yitzhak was in Harbin for business when Eliyahu was born, and he died without their ever meeting.
Eliyahu was a Beitar member from 1930, and shortly before completing his studies at the College of Commerce and Economics in Riga, he decided to make aliyah without a certificate, in an original manner. He and his two comrades went throughout Europe on a motorcycle with a sidecar, embarking on a ship for the last leg. When they reached Haifa, they jumped into the water and swam to Bat Galim. Eliyahu had to stay on the ship until it arrived in Beirut, where he was arrested. Later, he made contact with smugglers who got him over the border.
He then joined the Beitar company in Kfar Saba, later moving on to Hadera. In 1936, he was active in the IZL, and after the split, he joined Lehi. As the chief quartermaster of the IZL in Haifa, he could hand everything over to Lehi: in caves in the Carmel, under the stairs on Safed Street, in Bar Giora, and in the villas of supporters on the Carmel.
When he moved to Tel Aviv, he worked in the finance department, recruiting supporters and staying in contact with them. Another important task was finding caches for weapons and materiel; he stored weapons and archival material in a garage he rented on Chen Boulevard. He also rented an apartment on Tiomkin Street in Tel Aviv, which served the Lehi Central Committee while Yair was alive. Another secret apartment on Jezreel Valley Street served as a refuge for additional comrades, while an apartment on Kishon Street was the repository for all of Yair’s songs.
He stayed in Lehi until 1942, when his disagreements with the leadership about their reasoning and actions forced him to leave. He returned to the IZL as an active member, and for this reason he was seized by the Hagana during the Saison.
In 1935, he married Miriam Sebulba, an editor. They have two sons and a daughter. Eliyahu worked in publishing and accounting. As of 1988, he retired and lived in Maale Adumim.