Born on June 3, 1919 in Afghanistan, and immigrated with his family at the age of 10 to the Bukharan Quarter of Jerusalem. This was at the height of the 1929 Arab riots, which left their stamp on the child. At an early age, he joined Betar, and later the underground. Because of the economic straits of his family, he did not complete his schooling, and went to work.

Because of his fluency in Arabic, Yaakov was sent on reprisal missions in the Arab hinterland and in the last of these (July 16, 1938) he was severely injured and was taken by the police to the government hospital. Despite his serious condition, he was interrogated by the British Intelligence. When he felt his strength waning, he tore off his bandages and died of blood loss.