Yaakov was born in Urmia in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province to Mazal and Shimon Yaakovi. His father made aliyah in 1935, and his mother their five children followed a year later, illegally, crossing through Iran and Syria. She and the children were captured by the British once they arrived in the Land of Israel. They were eventually released and joined Yaakov’s father, an expert silversmith who opened a jewelry store in Jerusalem.
In their home, the family was educated to love the nation and the homeland. Yaakov first studied in Talmud Torah Nezer Aharon, later on continuing his studies in the Ratisbonne School. He joined the Scouts, the Netter branch in Jerusalem. At that time, he began to dive into nationalism. The murder of Yair left a deep impression, and he had a burning desire to take revenge on the British. All he could do at the time, as a youth, was to leave the Scouts and join Brit Hashmona’im, which led him in short order to Lehi. This was in late 1947, when Yaakov was just sixteen.
He went to Camp Dror in Talbiyeh once the State of Israel was established, with his Lehi comrades. His older brother Ephraim, who was an active member of IZL, fell in the joint IZL-Lehi attack on Der Yassin. After the Bernadotte assassination, the Lehi camp was dismantled by Israeli authorities and Lehi members were arrested. Yaakov hid until the general clemency was announced, and then he enlisted in the IDF. He was stationed in a communications unit in the Southern Command, serving in communications on the ceasefire committee. He was located in Auja al-Hafir.
As the war ended, his family moved to Jaffa, where his father set up a jewelry workshop. After demobilization, Yaakov joined his father and learned his craft.
On March 31,1966, Yaakov married Sarah Marmar, who had made aliyah from Turkey. They had three children: Sigalit, Ronen and Irit.