Yosef was born in 1924 in Yemen to Amram and Leah. The family made aliyah in 1935 and settled in Tel Aviv’s Kerem HaTeimanim. The next year, the riots began, starting at the neighborhoods on the border and spreading throughout the country. Kerem HaTeimanim and its residents were prominent targets, and the Sharabi family suffered greatly during this chapter of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Yosef learned tiling, and this was his profession until he joined the British Army during World War II. Like many of his fellow Jewish soldiers, it was this experience that convinced him that the British, who kept the gates of the Land of Israel shut while millions of Jews were being slaughtered in Europe, did not have his best interests at heart. Indeed, as soon as he had doffed the uniform of the occupier, Yosef made his way to Lehi’s door. To his family name, he added the Hebraic name “Nitzani,” and for his nom de guerre, he took Yehiel.
The struggle against the British succeeded, and the Mandate came to an end. However, the enemy was now the Arabs. Yosef and his Lehi comrades fought the Arab gangs, and once the State was established, they joined the IDF.
Yosef was assigned to Company A of the commando Battalion 81 (later called 89) of the 8th Brigade, under the command of “the old man,” Yitzhak Sadeh. His company commander was Blond Dov of Lehi, whose heroism and daring are legendary, while the battalion commander was Moshe Dayan.
The 8th Brigade fought in Operation Dann, and after the fierce battles for Tira, Qula and Deir Tarif (later Beit Naballah would also be captured, the camp and the village), most of the forces left to storm Lod. Company A remained to keep an eye on Jordanian forces, but without halftracks or weapons companies. The Legionnaires, who noticed this, launched a counteroffensive with their artillery and armor, forcing Company A, its ammunition reserves dwindling, to retreat, with six dead (including the platoon commander) and eighteen injured.
Yosef Sharabi-Nitzani, Yehiel, was one of the fallen. He was killed on 11.7.1948, and was buried in the military section of Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery in Tel Aviv.