(JTA) — Rabbi Menachem Froman, founder of the Modern Orthodox West Bank settlers movement Gush Emunim, has died.
Froman, the chief rabbi of southern Jerusalem’s Tekoa community, died Monday following a battle with cancer. He was 68.
Froman was unique in the West Bank for facilitating peace initiatives with Palestinian leaders, including members of Hamas, despite being a supporter of the settlement movement. Froman visited vandalized mosques in the West Bank and attempted peace talks between Israelis and Palestinian movements.
Established in 1974, Gush Emunim is a national-religious movement calling for the settlement of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in order to assert Israeli sovereignty.
Froman, who was born in prestate Israel in 1945, was a member of the paratroop unit that helped liberate Jerusalem in 1967.
He received his rabbinical training and ordination from the late Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren and taught over the years at several yeshivas, including Mercaz Harav and Yeshivat Hakotel.
“My father took off his clothing of light and put on clothing of light,” Froman’s son Yehoyashiv, one of his 10 children, said in a statement Monday night, according to the Times of Israel. “He came in peace and went in peace.”