NAME: Zephaniah, Shmuel

LEHI ALIAS: Gilad

DATE OF BIRTH: April 4, 1928

DATE OF DEATH: May 20, 2019

Shmuel, son of Hannah and Zion, was born on 14 Nissan 5688 in Jerusalem, in the Georgian neighborhood. In Av 5689, Arab rioters attacked the neighborhood, killing the mother and ripping out his eye. He was found among the bodies of the slain, and he was taken by his father, who had also been stabbed, to Hadassah Hospital. After he recovered, he was raised by his grandmother. Shmuel studied in cheder, then in a boys’ school. He went out to Kibbutz Ein Gev. There he worked in agriculture and construction, dedicating part of his time to studying and training. Thus he was recruited to the Hagana youth. He then moved on to Nahalal. On the “Black Sabbath,” he was sent to Kibbutz Yagur, most of whose members had been arrested, and he was appointed to run the vineyard. An agent of the underground recruited him for Lehi at the kibbutz.

At first, he put up posters. In “red” Haifa, this was quite a task. Then he moved on to the operations division and took part in the bombing of the income tax building in Haifa. Afterwards, he was sent to Raanana to train with firearms.

After the “two Eliyahus” were executed by hanging in Egypt, he bombed the Shell gas tanks. This was a successful operation, as three massive explosions lit up the skies of Haifa.

That night, the Mapilim ship Moledet arrived on the shores of the Land of Israel. Moledet means homeland, and the Lehi posters read: “Moledet in Haifa, fire in the moledet.” Those making aliyah saw the flames and rejoiced, as the British were the ones who had deported them to Cyprus. After the murder of Alexander Rubowitz, Shmuel took part in retributive attacks against the British.

After the Bernadotte assassination, he was arrested. The prisoners declared a hunger strike. On the fifth day, Rabbi Aryeh Levin arrive to ask them to break the strike. The prisoners refused: “Liberty or death!” Rabbi Levin replied that if they would not stop, then he would join them. Shmuel was released after the general clemency.

In Jerusalem, he met Rachel Mizrachi, widow of “Yitzhak,” one of the fighters who died in the Old City, leaving her with a baby, Yaakov. Shmuel married Rachel and they had three children, two sons and a daughter.

After the Six-Day War, Shmuel and his family moved to Dahyat al-Brid, beyond the boundaries of the municipality of Jerusalem, to the north. They were the first settlers. Shmuel worked for the Ministry of Education. He then became the director of antiquities for Judea and Samaria, work which interested him greatly.

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