Yaakov was born in 1931 in Beirut to Yakar (nicknamed “Baghdadi” because of his Iraqi origin) and Yafa (of Damascus) Frej. All of his grandparents moved to Beirut, where his parents met and married. Yaakov was the third of four children.
At age six, Yakar passed away, which made Yafa dream of aliyah, where she had family. His two big brothers were the first to make aliyah. In the meantime Yaakov attended the Alliance School. In 1942, at age eleven, his mother snuck across the border with him and his younger brother. With a group of immigrants, guided by an Arab smuggler, they reached Kfar Giladi, but not without being robbed by the Lebanese Gendarmerie. The kibbutz absorbed them and got them past the British blockades to the center of the country. His mother used the name Mizrahi. They lived in Tel Aviv near the Carmel Market, and Yaakov attended the Magdiel Agricultural School for two years. Then he returned to help support the family. He met young members of the IZL and Lehi, and in 1946, at age fifteen, he joined the latter, captivated by their uncompromising struggle against the British.
At first, he was in the youth division, putting up posters. However, he was soon sent to a firearms training course in Raanana, led by Yigal. He was then sent to the operations division. He took part in various operations, including attacking the railroad from Jaffa to Jerusalem and providing security for the Barclays bank robbery in Tel Aviv (under the command of Blond Dov).
In early 1948, Yaakov was sent to Binyamina to provide reinforcements for the Binyamina-Zikhron Yaakov chapter. He lived in the Feikovich home and was integrated into the operations in the region. Under Dov, Lehi fighters besieged Jisr al-Zarqa and stripped its residents of their weapons. In another operation, they derailed a train carrying British soldiers and Arab fighters with a bomb. The passengers had been heading to provide reinforcements for their forces in Haifa, and many were injured. Yaakov was then returned to Tel Aviv, and he joined Lehi operations in Abu Kabir.
When the IDF was established, he joined with his comrades, and they were assigned to Battalion 89 of the 8th Brigade, under the command of Moshe Dayan, taking part in all of the battalion’s combat operations. He changed his last name from Mizrahi to Shomroni, his Lehi nom de guerre.
In 1951, he married Rachel Afar, and they had two sons, Yossi and Moshe (who was killed in action during the Yom Kippur War, at Suez), and two daughters.
Yaakov worked for Dan as a salaried driver, and in 1951, he became a member of the cooperative. He retired in 1986. He now lives with his family in Eilat.