Moshe was born in 1914 to Avraham Leib and Sheindel in Ukraine, a religious family which made aliyah in 1925. He studied in Haifa’s Netzach Israel School, completing his studies in the Hebrew Teachers’ Seminary in Jerusalem. The 1929 riots inspired him to join Brit HaBiryonim, and in its name, he took down the Nazi flag over the German Consulate. He then joined the Hagana. After Arlozorov was murdered, he was detained and questioned among the other Biryonim. He moved on to the Hagana (Nationalist).
In 1935, Moshe went to Poland and set up “nationalist cells” in Volyn. When the IZL was established in 1937, Moshe was one of its founders, and he was very active in Haifa opposing the restraint after the riots of 1936-1939. He married Tova Hochglick in 1938, and a month later he was arrested for half a year.
In 1940, he followed Yair to Lehi, and he was appointed national coordinator of intelligence. Lehi members were then pursued by the British, with the assistance of the IZL and Hagana. Moshe and his comrades were arrested on 25.5.1941, but he managed to flee with his wife’s help on 27.11.1941. He returned to Yair’s staff. When Moshe found Yair homeless on 3.1.1942, wandering with his suitcase and looking for a place to sleep, he invited him to his apartment at 8 Mizrahi Bet in Tel Aviv for a few days, as there were no alternatives. On 27.1.1942, the apartment at 30 Dizengoff was discovered, and Morton and his men broke in and beat to death Avraham Amper and Zelig Jacques, seriously injuring Moshe and Yaakov Eliav. The latter two were sentenced to ten years for weapons the CID planted in the room, later commuted to ten years’ imprisonment.
Informers were everywhere, and arrests were common. On 12.2.1942, in the morning, Yair received a bit of urgent mail at 8 Mizrahi Bet. Once Yair wrote his responses, his contact left. An hour later, Wilkins and his men arrived and found Yair. Yair was handcuffed and Morton was summoned. Tova was sent to wait in the car with Wilkins beside her, while Morton killed Yair.
On 20.2.1948, Moshe and his Lehi and IZL comrades fled from prison in Jerusalem and returned to active duty. Ben-Gurion would not let him go back to teaching. Instead, he became an Egged bus driver. He also served as the secretary of the northern branch. In the meantime, he completed a law degree and began practicing. In 1989, Moshe and Tova told their life story, in From IZL to Lehi.
When Anshel Shpilman wrote in his memoirs that it was Moshe’s words in the hospital to Eliav’s mother which betrayed Yair’s hideout, Moshe sued him for libel. Shpilman was found liable, and the verdict stated: “The British did not arrive at the Svorai apartment due to anything said by the plaintiff (Svorai).” This was appealed to the Supreme Court, which cut the award by forty percent “out of respect for Avraham ‘Yair’ Stern, in light of the fact that the appellant, Anshel Shpilman, is deceased.” Moshe wrote a book about the case.
In Marheshvan 5761, Tova and Moshe were awarded the title of “Beloved of Samaria” for their efforts in the settlement of the area.