NAME: Roth, Yosef


DATE OF BIRTH: April 24, 1921

DATE OF DEATH: August 11, 2003

Yosef was born in Berehove, Zakarpattia, Ukraine (then part of Czechoslovakia), to Rivka and Mordechai. His home was Zionist and traditional, and these values were inculcated in him. He joined his local Beitar chapter at a very young age.

In preparation for aliya, he halted his high school studies and began professional training. In 1938, he finally left his parents’ home in order to prepare for aliya, a dream realized a year later on the famous Mapilim ship Katina, which came ashore at Netanya. The journey was very difficult, lasting three months. In Netanya, he immediately joined the Beitar recruitment company. After a short time, they transferred him to Be’er Yaakov.

Yosef joined the IZL, and when it split, he went to Lehi. In May 1941, he was arrested and sent to Acre, then Mizra, then Latrun. He was then among the first deported to Eritrea, then to Sudan. He spent a year-and-a-half there, until June 1946. Once Yosef returned to Netanya, he returned to duty with Lehi. After the King David Hotel bombing, he was arrested again for two months. He was then put under house arrest, but this did not stop him from underground activity. In the meantime, he opened an independent business in Netanya, and in 1948, he married Sarah Hayil, an IZL member, whom he knew from their work together in the underground.

When the War of Independence began, he enlisted in the IDF with the other Lehi members; he was assigned to the raiding Battalion 89 of the 8th Brigade, under Blond Dov. He participated in all of the battalion’s engagements and operations, until it was disbanded in 1949.

After he was demobilized, he returned to Netanya, and he continued his public work with new Herut Movement. Inter alia, he was active for many years in Bnai Brith, the Order of Zeev Jabotinsky, and the Laborers’ Union. He was a central committee member and a member of the directorate of the movement. He also served on the Netanya City Council, and he now serves as the director of the Netanya Municipal Committee of the Herut Movement.

His firstborn son, Nahum, born in 1949, was killed in action at age 24 in the Yom Kippur War. His daughter Rivka married.

After his son’s death, Yosef joined the local Yad Labanim organization.