Israeli Menachem Froman, rabbi of the West Bank Tekoa settlement, at his home February 7, 2006
Israeli settler, rabbi, interfaith campaigner and peace activist Menahem Froman, is pictured at his home on February 7, 2006. Froman died aged 68 on Monday at his home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa after a two-year struggle with cancer, local media said. © Gali Tibbon - AFP/File
Israeli Menachem Froman, rabbi of the West Bank Tekoa settlement, at his home February 7, 2006
AFP
Last updated: March 4, 2013

Rabbi Froman, settler and peace activist dead at 68

Israeli settler, rabbi, interfaith campaigner and peace activist Menahem Froman died aged 68 on Monday at his home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa after a two-year struggle with cancer, local media said.

Born in 1945 in British-ruled Palestine, over the years he sat down with an array of controversial Palestinian figures, including the late Yasser Arafat as well as Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, assassinated by Israel in March 2004.

Froman, the rabbi of Tekoa near Bethlehem, believed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at its core a religious one and could best be solved through mutual religious understanding.

And he felt that Israelis and Palestinians working together could help bridge wider cultural gaps.

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an expression of the conflict between Western and Islamic civilisations. It is not just a problem for the two tiny nations living here but for the entire world,' he told AFP in a 2006 interview.

"Our role in the world is to bridge that gap."

He founded Founder of Eretz Shalom (Land of Peace), a movement which seeks to reconcile settlers and their Palestinian neighbours, denounced settler violence and paid solidarity visits to vandalised West Bank mosques.

He said he would be ready to stay and live in a Palestinian state if Israel dismantled its settlements under a peace settlement.

The father of 10 children, he taught at religious institutions and published several volumes of poems.

After being diagnosed with an inoperable form of cancer, he continued meeting Palestinian officials and giving media interviews, saying he wanted "to contribute to peace until the last of his strength."

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