Ya'akov Meridor

  • Issue: April 2003
  • Designer: Ruth Beckman-Malka
  • Stamp Size: 30.8 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 512 (two phosphor bars)
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: offset

Ya'akov Meridor was born in Poland, studied at the Hebrew Gymnasium and was a member of the Betar Movement. When he came to Eretz Yisrael as an illegal immigrant he joined the Betar and Etzel military troops and made his way up the levels of command.

In 1939, just before World War Two broke out, Meridor was sent by the Etzel, together with Avraham "Yair" Stern, to Poland to attend a course in the Polish army high command and to negotiate with the Polish government for sending arms and arranging Jewish immigration from Poland to Eretz Yisrael. Immediately after his return he joined the Etzel leadership under the command of David Raziel.

In 1941 David Raziel was killed during a German bomb attack on Iraq, whilst he participated in a joint Etzel operation with the British army. Meridor, who was also involved in this operation, was appointed Etzel Commander after the fall of Raziel.

In 1943 Meridor was involved in an attempt to establish "Am Lochem" which was meant to unite all the Jewish fighting organizations. Meridor voluntarily transferred his Etzel commander position to Menachem Begin in 1944 and Begin appointed him as second in command. Meridor was proud of that decision throughout his life.

In 1945 Meridor was arrested and transferred to prison camps in Africa from which he escaped five times but was captured. On his sixth attempt he succeeded in reaching Israel on the day of the establishment of the State. His escapes are described in his book "Long is the Road to Freedom" and Begin called him the "Escape Champion".

In 1948 he participated in the founding of the Herut Movement - together with Begin and other Etzel commanders. Meridor was a member of the 1st to 6th Knessets and was involved in economic activities in Africa and later in the rest of the world. Together with Mila Brenner he established the "Atlantic" fishing company and the "Maritime Fruit Carriers" which brought to Israel tens of ships with weapons and equipment for the Yom Kippur War. Meridor was a pioneer in the field of hi-tech and, together with Joseph Kremerman, set up "Laser Industries", which was a leader in revolutionary laser surgery using the Israeli "Sharplan" invention by Professor Isaac Kaplan and Uzi Sharon.

Meridor was active in the founding of Gahal (Herut/Liberals) and Likud political parties. In 1981 he returned to the 10th Knesset on the Likud list and was Minister in the governments of Menachem Begin and -Yitzhak Shamir.

Rachel Kremerman Meridor

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Ya'akov Meridor (1913-1995) "Etzel" Commander
Minister, Goverments of Israel