Ya’acov was born in Tel Aviv January 15,1927, to Mordechai and Yehudit Yemini Rechter. His father, among the founders of ‘Hashomer-Hatsa’ir’ Poland, headed the ‘Bilu’im’ pioneers who made Aliya 1920, and was among the first local lawyers. After graduating ‘Herzliya High School’ 1944, Ya’acov served in the Settlement Police then joined Lehi. Active in the Technical Department, he assembled landmines and diverse detonators. Using ordinary commercial materials, he created an explosive mixture which was regularly used, after its successful trial against a CID vehicle.
In 1947 he traveled to London as a student and established a Lehi branch that recruited new fighters and planned operations, such as the assassinations of Foreign Minister Bevin (not approved by Lehi leaders) and Roy Faran (killer of Alexander Robovitsch). In May 1948 he returned home aboard an illegal immigrants’ ship from Marseille. He moved to Jerusalem, and headed the Lehi technical unit which dealt with mines, explosives, electronics and weapons repair. He commanded the ‘Religious Group’ in the attempt to break into the Old City, June 1948, and was injured while placing explosives to blow a passage through the Wall. After the assassination of Bernadotte he was imprisoned. Released, he joined the IDF, serving 2 years and served 34 years as Reservist, ranking Lieutenant. In 1949 he married Ilana and they had a son, Amir Yehezkel. In 1952 he was arrested as member of the ‘Malchut Yisrael’ underground, which laid a bomb in the Soviet Embassy grounds, in response to Stalin’s infamous ‘Jewish Doctors Plot’.
He was sentenced to ten years’ prison, but released after two. He studied law in prison qualifying as attorney-at-law 1956. That year he married Shani Levinson.
They have two sons, Assaf and Rafael, four daughters, Adi, Edna, Raya and Naomi, plus twenty grandchildren. Ya’acov was an admirer of Uri Zvi Greenberg (the poet), a member of the ‘Sulam’ journal (with Dr. Yisrael Eldad), a founder of the ‘Techiya’ Party, and a member of ‘Tsomet’ and ‘Moledet’. He is a member of the active committee of the ‘Ariel Institute’, a Doctor of Law and director of a law firm.