Yaakov was born in Jerusalem in 1917 to his parents Eliyahu and Clara. In 1925, the family moved to Tel Aviv and settled in the Shapira neighborhood. In 1933, at age sixteen, he joined Beitar and was active in it until he enlisted, at the beginning of the riots, in Hagana (Nationalist).
In 1937, he was among the first to join IZL. He was trained and went out on retributive missions; he observed, prepared and personally participated in attacking Arabs and bombing the rail lines.
When the IZL split, he joined Lehi. He was trained in firearms and as an instructor, and when the course was over, he was giving command over a squad. In addition, he took care of several arms caches in various places. The secret underground radio station was stored in one of them. He oversaw the broadcasting equipment: retrieving it, transporting it to the location of the broadcast, guarding it and returning it to storage at the end.
In early 1942, about a week after Yair’s murder, Yaakov was abducted by Hagana members, and kept in Kibbutz Givat HaShelosha. He was interrogated for two weeks and released, but soon afterwards he was arrested by the CID and imprisoned in Mizra. When a few months passed, he was sent to Latrun with the others. He was exiled to Africa along with the first group on 19 October 1944. He was imprisoned in Sembel (near Asmara, Eritrea), Carthago (Sudan), then back in Eritrea and finally in Gilgil (Kenya). Throughout these years, his friends and family did everything they could to get him released. They told the authorities that he had nothing to do with the underground and he was being detained in error. They advised him to tell the same story, and this led him to declare himself “neutral.” However, these efforts proved unsuccessful; he remained in exile until the very end, only returning after the State of Israel was established, on 12 July 1948 — after six-and-a-half years in the Land of Israel and abroad.
Yaakov made his career as a mechanic, opening a garage for motorcycles in Tel Aviv.
He married Clara Zipper, and they had two daughters, Naava and Aliza, as well as numerous grandchildren.
Yaakov passed away on February 17, 2000. He was buried in the Yarkon Cemetery.