Menachem Froman: Rabbi and peace activist


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The Independent Online

Rabbi Menachem Froman, who died on 4 March at the age of 68 after a long illness, was an Israeli settler known for his efforts to promote coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Froman, who served as the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, had ties to many Palestinian leaders. He was an outspoken opponent of attacks by Jewish settlers on mosques and often visited damaged holy sites with local Palestinian officials. He believed Israelis and Palestinians could live together peacefully.

Froman, a former paratrooper, was a founder of the Gush Emunim movement promoting Israeli settlement of the West Bank. He opposed the removal of Jewish settlers from the area, claiming a sacred biblical connection to the land. In 2008, together with a Palestinian journalist close to Hamas, Froman drafted a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. The agreement was endorsed by Hamas but not by the Israeli government.

Born in 1945 in Galilee, he was married to the educator and artist Hadassah Froman; the couple had 10 children. Known as a colourful character, he was also a poet and an artist, and would regularly get up on stage as a guest of leading performers like Ehud Banai and Berry Sakharof.