Israel was born in Vilnius on 15.5.1917, to Avraham and Gittel. Israel had two sisters and a brother. They sold sewing machines and bicycles, and they also had a printing house, in which Israel worked as a youth. In 1937, he made aliyah with the Af al Pi program (the IZL-Beitar illegal immigration movement), together with Shlomo Ben-Yosef, who would ultimately be executed. Israel’s aliyah was a result of his Beitar membership; his parents were opposed to this and refused to support him financially. His parents only changed their minds when he threatened to enlist in the Polish Army.
Israel’s first stop was the Beitar company of Rosh Pina, where one of his comrades was Shlomo Ben-Yosef. He was then sent to be among those who blew the shofar at the Western Wall at the close of Yom Kippur 1938. This led to his first arrest, landing him in Jerusalem’s Kishleh. He was sentenced to six months in prison. This would be the first of many stays in British prisons and detention camps.
The next logical step was joining the IZL. When it split, he followed Yair. He was part of the Arab Bank robbery in Jerusalem, which was a failure; he also participated in other operations. He was arrested again in Jerusalem, after he was shot by the police, who pursued him and Moshe Bar-Giora. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, five years of which he served in practice. He was released on the day that Dov Gruner was hanged, but he was required to report daily to the police station. He kept this up for a short period of time. In early 1947, he was sent to supervise the activities of the Lehi branch in Haifa. At the same time, Haifa Oil Refinery was attacked. There were also assassination operations against British authorities, as well as meetings with politicians from Eastern Europe.
Shortly before the British left, he was arrested again, when the Hagana seized him, his girlfriend Yaffa, Shimon Bar-Yehoshua and the regional commander Moshe (Coucy Nadav) Armoni. They were brought to Kibbutz Beit Oren, and they were released only after Lehi’s counteroffensive, kidnapping senior Hagana members.
When the War of Independence began, Israel joined the IDF along with Lehi members, and he was made an officer in Battalion 82. He led his men through all of the battalion’s battles, including the capture of Beersheba, Iraq Suwaydan police fort and Auja el-Hafir. When the war ended, he married Yaffa. He then worked at the “Dagon” Israel Granaries Company.
He was active in the political movements Herut and then Tehiya, serving as the secretary of the Haifa branch. He also volunteered at the neighborhood seniors center, running different classes for their benefit. He was a particular fan of bridge.
Israel passed away on 27 Shevat 5757, and he was buried in the IZL-Lehi section of the Haifa Cemetery.