Yehuda was born in Petah Tikva’s Mahane Yehuda neighborhood on October 24, 1934 to Yamima and Menashe, the second child in a family of thirteen. By the house, there was a farm and orchard. The father took whatever jobs he could find, while the mother was a homemaker. At four, Yehuda started studying at cheder, then went on to elementary school.
Before joining Lehi, Yehuda participated in the IZL operations officer’s patrol, which was camouflaged as an educational tour of the railway station and railyards of Rosh HaAyin. In 1946, he enlisted in Lehi, concealing the fact that he was only twelve from the admissions board. He picked the nom de guerre Yaakov after the biblical Patriarch Jacob, who wrestled with and defeated an angel.
He put up posters in Petah Tikva and conducted surveillance. He was trained with a semiautomatic pistol. He would observe the British Army vehicles as they moved on the military road from Kfar Avraham Junction to Kfar Syrkin-Shaaria Junction. He helped guard the arms cache on the property of the Pickersky family; the path to it passed through his family’s orchard. He joined the training camp in the orchard on HaShomer Street in Bnei Brak. He refused to go home despite his father’s demands. When he was only thirteen, he went home to celebrate Shavuot, promising to return to the camp. As he did.
His commander, Ehud, approved that he continue training at Sheikh Munis camp, where the fighters were readied. Upon completing the course, he went to Jerusalem, spending three days in Lower Lifta, patrolling the wadi and the spring and observing Beit Iksa.
When he returned, he went back to his father’s house and resumed his studies, studying in elementary school, yeshiva, trade school, engineering school, Beit Berl College and the Open University.
In 1953, he enlisted in the IDF, where he served, with the rank of major, as armored officer, maintenance officer, and commander of a train in the supply corps. He finished his reserve duty as a lieutenant colonel. During his service, he was injured; he was recognized as an IDF disabled person. He married Hannah Cohen in 1961, and they had four children.
It was his idea to “redeem” the house at Sheikh Munis, and he was the one to set up the memorial board. He brought the issue to Tzvi Frank, director of the fund, and they worked together to get it done.
As an IDF civilian employee, he worked in the aerospace industry, as well on the board of the Histadrut in Tel Aviv. When he left, after 21 years of working there, he moved on to work at the small claims court and as an authorized administrator of condominiums.
He also was involved in local politics and public service in the Petah Tikva Municipality, and he was a member of the national secretariat of the Rafi Movement.
Today, as a pensioner, he continues to volunteer at the Petah Tikva Municipality and at Beit Yair in Tel Aviv.