Yaakov was born on January 29, 1931 in Jerusalem’s Nahalaot neighborhood to Yehezkel and Sarah. The father was a baker in the Frumin and Hadar factories, while the mother was a homemaker raising their six children in difficult conditions.
Yaakov began his studies in Talmud Torah Or HaHayim, which served the Persian community, and in third grade he moved on to Talmud Torah Mizrahi. His mother passed away when he was nine and she was 35. Five years later, he finished elementary school and had to go to work to support the family.
While still in elementary school, he joined Lehi. He disseminated promotional material and helped guard those who were putting up posters. He also was trained with firearms and explosives. They were trained in his synagogue’s courtyard, assisted by an elderly Yemenite who brought the weapon under his tallit. When he was guarding those putting up posters, he was seized by the British, who imprisoned him at the Russian Compound. He managed to hide his own weapon and gesture to his comrade as to where to hide his. Yaakov spent several days in prison, but he was released after several days because of the HaNoar HaOved membership card he happened to have.
In the War of Independence, he took part in the capture of Der Yassin. During the operation, he heard one of the children among the wounded crying that he was hungry. He felt bad and gave him his sandwich right away. He went on to battle by the Old City and was miraculously saved from the bullet of an Arab sniper.
After the establishment of the State, he enlisted in the IDF; during the Six-Day War, he served in the Jerusalem Brigade. He also served in the Yom Kippur War. In total, his regular and reserve duty exceeded 38 years, until he turned 54.
Yaakov learned metalwork and worked in it for some time. Later, he trained as a chef at the school at Tadmor Hotel in Jerusalem. He worked as a chef and baker at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital for 34 years, until retiring in 1996.
In 1973, he married Rina Padlon, a nurse in the Assaf HaRofe Hospital. They live in Jerusalem and have two daughters (Sarah and Ruthie, teachers), a son (Yehezkel) and numerous grandchildren.