NAME: Tevua (née Greenberg), Yaffa

LEHI ALIAS: Ilana

DATE OF BIRTH: December 23, 1923

DATE OF DEATH: October 1, 2019

Yaffa was born to Hannah and Yitzhak in Sokyriany, Bessarabia, in what is now Ukraine, on 23.12.1923. Her parents were well-off and owned a winery. She had four sisters, Sonia, Ida, Elka and Rachel; and a brother, Yona, who died young.

Two experiences in her youth made an impression on her. First, her father had an open-door policy for all those in need, and he would announce in Yiddish “Come eat!” This invitation stayed with her for her whole life, inspiring her to help the less fortunate. Second, the riots in Ukraine in her youth caused a wave of refugees; in particular, a mother named Fruma and her son Menashe came to their home, and her parents gave them refuge and a place to stay. Fruma showered Yaffa with love.

The sisters Sonia and Ida blazed a trail for the rest of the family to follow, as they made aliyah in the early 1930s, to the city of Haifa; the rest of the family soon followed. Yaffa studied in WIZO Elementary School. As a girl, she joined Maccabi HaTza’ir.

As World War II broke out, she enlisted in the British Army, where she served as a driver in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Yosef Gelili (Sittner), a veteran Lehi member, who served in the British Army in Egypt, convinced Yaffa to join Lehi. One of her roles was to be the contact for the two Eliyahus, who would eventually be executed for the Lord Moyne assassination. Yaffa was a lookout and a courier, including bringing forged passports to allow them to carry out the assassination. She also brought ammunition (grenades and rifle cartridges), gathered from Australian military vehicles returning from the front. She smuggled the ammunition into the Land of Israel by rail, when she was on leave. When she returned to the camp, she brought promotional materials to be distributed among the Jewish soldiers serving in Egypt.

Due to the trial in Cairo (and apparently an informer as well), she was arrested and sent to Bethlehem Women’s Prison, where she remained for more than two years.

After her release, she married Israel “Ezra” Tevua. She joined many Lehi comrades in the IDF after the War of Independence broke out, and she was assigned to Battalion 82 of the armored 8th Brigade. With the rank of sergeant, she was in charge of all of the female soldiers, taking part in the capture of Lod Airport as an ambulance driver.

Together with her husband, she took part in many political activities with the Herut and Tehiya movements. After his death, she continued to volunteer at the local seniors’ center, diligently seeing to all her duties there. A particularly favorite activity was teaching the game of bridge to groups, which made things more interesting for her and the other senior citizens. She also had an affinity for animals, specifically cats, which she would care for with dedication.

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