Ijo, as he was known from his earliest days, son of Avraham and Frieda, was born on 23.8.1910 in Rădăuți, Romania (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). There he studied in the Gymnasium, and then he pursued a law degree in the Universities of Chernivtsi and Cluj. In Vienna, he completed his studies at the International School for Commerce. He was active in the Zionist academics’ union, Barisia. In 1936, he worked as a lawyer in Chernivtsi and took a large role in political life in the Bukovina region. He was one of the Revisionist leaders there, lecturing out of the goodness of his heart and inspiring the Beitar youth.
In February 1942, he married the widow Dora Nussbaum and adopted her children, Haya and Tzvi. They made aliyah on 4.4.44. Yosef worked in the orchards, as well as a building contractor. Their difficult financial situation and his poor Hebrew did not allow him to be licensed as a lawyer.
His loyalty to the nation and the land was expressed through his Lehi activity. Tuvia “Zerah” Drori was his contact. When the State was established, Ijo started working in the Ministry of Industry and Trade as a senior clerk. He worked there until 1975, when he retired.
In 1951, Yosef joined the Bezalel chapter of Bonim Hofshim (Freemasons). In 1959, he became the president of the chapter, serving until 1963. He then became vice president of the national organization, then president in 1977. M. Tamari writes about this: “His academic achievements found expression in the counsel he gave and the action he took. In his character, he represented all that is positive and good in a person generally and as a Freemason in particular. He would manage the quarterly gatherings of all the chapter presidents in a unifying manner. He was a noble person, with a broad cultural background, fluent in many languages, a humanist who could develop ties with the chapters in Israel and aboard.”
Whenever he spoke publicly, Ijo called for peace, both between Israel and its neighbors, and between the citizens of the country, without consideration of religion or ethnicity. At every significant event, he would recall that Jerusalem, the Eternal City of Peace and Hope, is the source of Freemasonry, throughout the world. In Jerusalem, one could sense the march of time. In his eulogy, Yosef thanked his father, a longstanding, active Freemason in Europe, for giving him the legacy of his beloved brothers, spiritual happiness in place of material wealth.
His active and dedicated participation in the Freemasons gave him the platform and framework for productive social engagement, in place of the various parties throughout the country.
He passed away on 24.2.1981, and he was buried in Kiryat Shaul.