Rabbi Froman passes away after battle with cancer

Rabbi of Tekoa settlement, an advocate of peace with Palestinians, dies at 68; Bennett: He was a Jew with a gigantic heart.

Rabbi Menahem Froman 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rabbi Menahem Froman 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rabbi Menahem Froman, the much-loved rabbi of the Tekoa settlement in the Gush Etzion region, died at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer. He suffered a serious decline in health on Sunday and was unconscious and critically ill over the past two days.
Froman, a leading figure in the national-religious movement, was diagnosed with colon cancer more than two years ago.
For many years, Froman would give a Torah lesson on the book of the Zohar, a work of Jewish mysticism, every Sunday night. The same session was held without the rabbi at his home in Tekoa this past Sunday night, attended by 200 of the Froman’s students and devotees.
Froman had been an advocate for peace and dialogue with the Palestinians, despite also supporting the settlement movement since its inception.
He had been strongly critical of the recent “price tag” phenomenon in which extremist elements in the settlement movement have carried out arson and vandalism attacks against Palestinian civilian and religious targets.
After one of the first such attacks in 2010 against a Palestinian village in the Gush Etzion region where a mosque was torched, Froman visited the site of the attack, along with several other prominent area rabbis, to deliver new Korans to replace those burned in the attack.
The rabbi held talks with former Fatah and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and many local religious leaders in the West Bank.
In addition, Froman proposed a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whereby the Israeli settlements in the West Bank would remain intact within a sovereign Palestinian state. The maverick rabbi also supported Abbas’s push for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN in 2011.
Froman’s son, Yehoyashiv, told Ynet on Sunday that it seemed he was “departing from the world at this stage.”
He added that the rabbi, before losing consciousness, had decided to remain at his home in Tekoa to be surrounded by his family.
MK Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi party, said that Froman was “a Jew with a gigantic heart.”
MK Uri Ariel, also of Bayit Yehudi, said Froman’s passing was a great loss for the country.
“Rabbi Froman was one of its greatest warriors and lovers, who loved peace and chesed, hated argument, loved his fellow man and brought them closer to the Torah,” said Ariel.
Froman’s funeral will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday in Tekoa.