Rabbi Menachem Froman of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa passed away Monday night at his home, after a long battle with cancer. He was 68-years-old.
Froman was considered one of religious-Zionism's most prominent figures. He served as the settlement's chief rabbi and headed religious seminary schools in Tekoa and the West Bank settlement of Otniel, near Mount Hebron.
Froman, who was often described as a "colorful character" was also a poet and an artist, and would be regularly featured on stage as a guest of top Israeli performers such as Ehud Banai and Berry Sakharof.
The rabbi was considered religious-Zionism's leftist marker and often spoke about the importance of unity and brining a polarized Israeli society together.
Politically moderate, he was welcomed by Palestinian and Muslim leaders, with whom he partnered in an effort to devise ways to bridge the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and prompt coexistence.
Froman met in the past with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat before him. He participated in the 1991 Madrid Summit and met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the 2010 raid on the Marmara.
Rabbi Froman was also welcomed by leaders of the Arab sector in Israel. He was adamantly – and outspokenly – against "price tag" acts and any manifestation of Jewish terror.
His political path earned him harsh criticism among many in the settlement movement and he was considered a pariah among the movement's more radical elements; enduring boycotts, excommunication and even death threats.
Rabbi Froman will be laid to rest in Tekoa on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife and 10 children.
Kobi Nachshoni contributed to this report
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