Yaakov was born to Miriam and Ezra on January 2, 1932 in Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek neighborhood. They had made aliyah from Baghdad in 1923. The family was religious and traditional. Yaakov studied in cheder from age two to six, then in a Talmud Torah.
In 1945, at age thirteen, he first heard of Lehi and was recruited by his two brothers. His job was putting up posters beneath the nose of the British, as they patrolled in armored cars looking to arrest Jews. At age sixteen, he got a driver’s license for a motorcycle, and he would sometimes go to Abu Ghosh to get weapons from Yosef Abu Ghosh.
Starting on Passover 1948, he began training in Sheikh Badr. Once the State was established, when the War of Independence was at its height, Yaakov was transferred with other Lehi fighters to Lifta, to Camp Eldad. His role was to get food and equipment to the fighters, who were in posts opposite the Old City, in the Lehi section. When Talbiyeh was captured, Lehi set up Camp Dror in one of its houses, while the religious company remined in Camp Eldad. The weapons, explosives and food were kept in Sheikh Badr, next to the house of Grandpa, Yehuda Leib Schneerson, a native of Hebron. Yaakov was his main driver. One Friday, as he was taking Grandpa home, there was an explosion in Camp Eldad, in which a number of his comrades were killed.
Yaakov took part in many activities in Jerusalem, as well as the attack on the Old City on Sabbath night, July 17,1948, one day before the ceasefire. That night he was injured in his knee and hand.
After the Bernadotte assassination, he and his comrades were captured by the Military Police and imprisoned at Sheikh Munis. A month-and-a-half later, on Yom Kippur eve, Yaakov was released. The terms of his parole were that he would return to Jerusalem and report to the police twice a day, but he grew tired of this and returned to Tel Aviv. When he reached age eighteen, he enlisted in the IDF, and he was assigned different duties despite being disabled. He fought in the War of Independence, the Sinai War, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War.
In 1956, he was recognized as an IDF disabled person. In the Six-Day War, he was in charge of communications and the meeting between the government and the mayor of Hebron, in his house. A month later, the Minister of the Post and the government gave him the job of setting up the postal service in Judea and Samaria. On March 7,1978 Yaakov was demobilized, due to his deteriorating health. He then went on to work in the Keshet textile factory. When it closed, he continued as an independent contractor, working on pipes as a technician in various textile factories until he retired.
He married Shoshana Sayakh. They had a son, three daughters and numerous grandchildren.