NAME: Peli (Plokst), Matityahu Todi

LEHI ALIAS: Avner

DATE OF BIRTH: 22.7.1926

Todi was born in Tel Aviv on 22.7.1926, to Haya and Mishael. Three years later, the family moved to Kfar Saba, where Todi experienced the riots of 1929 and later the riots 1936-1939. When Shlomo Ben-Yosef was executed in 1938, Todi and some of his friends founded the Beitar cell in Kfar Saba. Yehoshua Cohen trained them. When the IZL split in 1940, he followed Yair. He was caught putting up posters and sentenced to house arrest. Yehoshua Cohen, who was a wanted man, hid in the orchard, and Todi would bring him various basics and food from his parents’ grocery.

When he completed high school at seventeen, he moved to Jerusalem to study electronic with the aim of setting up a secret radio station. He was part of the planning to assassinate High Commissioner of Palestine Sir Harold MacMichael, under the command of Yehoshua Cohen, who had arrived in Jerusalem. In the midst of the operation, he was injured in the leg by a bullet. He was successful in identifying and locating Detective Superintendent Thomas James (Tom) Wilkin, the enemy of the underground, preparing the ground for his assassination.

During the Saison, after Lord Moyne’s assassination, Todi was seized in Jerusalem by the Hagana, on Hanukkah 5705. He was held for eight days. He was released in Kfar Saba thanks to a tough discussion between Natan Yellin-Mor and Eliyahu Golomb. Afterwards, he was transferred to the Haifa branch, where he worked until the Jewish Resistance Movement began. He took an advanced course in firearms, explosives and field maneuvers in Gedera, and he was put in charge of the Sharon and Shomron branches. He took part in the attempt to blow up a British Army train near Kalkilya. He was a newsreader on the restored radio station. In 1947, he returned to Jerusalem to take over the youth and recruitment division. There he met Sarah “Efrat” Melumad. He tied his life to hers and built their family together.

At this time, Alexander Rubowitz, one of the most dedicated instructors of the department, was captured. Todi was soon made supervisor of the southern branches: Rishon LeZion, Rehovot and the region. In late 1947, he went to find an escape route for those imprisoned in Latrun, in anticipation of a major breakout, but this never came to fruition.

When the State was established, he was ordered, against his will, to be one of the Lehi members released from the IDF in order to organize Lehi abroad, so they could liberate the parts of the Land of Israel which had not been included in the State. This plan never came to fruition.

When Yitzhak Shamir returned, Todi worked closely with him throughout the summer of 1948, throughout the Bernadotte episode, until the Knesset first met on 14/2/1949, at which point all of Lehi’s battles came to an end.

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