Ben-Ami was born on February 16,1924 in Berlin, Germany, to Simcha and Leah. His father was a successful merchant and a fervent Zionist. In 1926, he made aliyah with his wife and two sons, Tzvi and Ben-Ami. The family settled in Jerusalem, and a daughter Shoshana was born. At age eleven, Ben-Ami joined Beitar; and in 1940, when he was sixteen, he joined IZL, following in the footsteps of his older brother Tzvi.
Ben-Ami studies in the Mizrachi Seminar and the Hebrew Gymnasium in Jerusalem. In 1942, following the orders of his IZL commanders, he enlisted in the British Army, in which he served for three years as a sergeant. Most of his service was in Egypt, and he only returned to Israel for short times while on leave. A number of soldiers from the Land of Israel demanded the right to wear the Star of David and the words “Land of Israel,” and for this Ben-Ami was imprisoned in a military prison for two months.
In early 1945, he went AWOL from the British Army, joined Lehi and went underground. This meant that he could no longer openly meet members of his family lest he be arrested. Thus, they devised a signal: Ben-Ami’s aunt in Tel Aviv would hang a red towel on the windowsill to let him know, and he would then go to a hiding place with a note containing only a time. The meeting would then take place in a spot known only to them, but one hour before the time on the note.
Ben-Ami was thoroughly involved with underground activities, filling different roles and undergoing training courses. He was known to be serious, dedicated, level-headed and courageous. He participated in many combat operations. He was wounded in Jerusalem and confined to bed for two weeks.
The most prominent operations he participated in were the seizure of weapons in the army base at Holon, the attack on the Airborne Division in Tel Aviv (which he commanded), the assault on the airfield at Kfar Syrkin and the destruction of British combat planes. Finally, he was the commander of the operation against the Haifa Railroad Workshops, in which he fell on June 17,1946. At that time, his brother Tzvi was in a detention camp in Eritrea, while his sister Shoshana was an active IZL member.
Ben-Ami was a person who combined the pen and the sword: he was a great adherent of Jabotinsky who read prose and poetry and wrote articles and essays, some of which were published in various periodicals. Uri Tzvi Greenberg was a close friend of his, and they would talk and socialize for hours. His great love was classical music, which he listened to whenever he had free time, from his extensive record collection.