Yaakov was born in Hebron’s Abu Bessel neighborhood in 1928 to Shlomo and Devora. His family had been in the Land of Israel for almost five centuries, ever since the Expulsion from Spain. The home was traditional. After the 1929 riots, they moved to Jerusalem as refugees, but they returned in 1930, together with some other families. In 1936, the riots meant that once again they had to return to Jerusalem.
Yaakov studied in Talmud Torah Mizrahi. At age sixteen, he joined the Jewish Settlement Police, serving in the area of Jerusalem. In 1946, at age eighteen, he joined Lehi; however, he was “frozen” due to his position in the Jewish Settlement Police. Nevertheless, he acquired important skills with firearms and explosives with the police.
After the Partition Plan, Yaakov resigned his commission and committed himself to the underground. He was active in Jerusalem, including the attempt to break into the Old City, during which his leg was injured; the Barclays Bank robbery, during which a piece of shrapnel injured him near his eye; the capture of Notre Dame; the attacks on Der Yassin and Ein Kerem; and the final Lehi operation in Jerusalem, the capture of Beit Iks, under the command of Yehoshua Cohen.
After the Bernadotte assassination, Yaakov was arrested and held in Jaffa, and then in Acre.
After he was released, due to the general clemency, he enlisted in the IDF, where he took an anti-aircraft course, serving in the Air Force.
In 1951, he married Rachel Haberi, and they had three daughters. After the war, he was a plumber. In 1956, he joined the Nordia settlement of the Herut Movement, near Netanya.