Ariel mayor Ron Nachman died on Friday at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
He is survived by his wife, four daughters and ten grandchildren. Funeral details will be announced later.
Nachman, one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in Judea and Samaria, was elected to the 13th Knesset as part of the Likud party and was a member of the Finance Committee and the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. He was first elected to lead the Ariel Regional Council in 1978, a position from which he resigned after one year. He was re-elected as mayor of Ariel in 1985 and remained in that position until his death.
Nachman worked hard in recent years towards promoting the recognition of the Ariel University Center as a full-fledged university. The process was just recently completed.
In his last interview with Arutz Sheva, Nachman praised the decision to recognize Ariel as a university, saying, “This is a day of celebration for all residents of Israel. It’s a festive day for all of us, not just for the residents of the city or the students, but for all citizens of Israel. Thousands of students from all around Israel are currently studying in Ariel and, according to forecasts, Ariel will become a major university city like Princeton in the U.S.”
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar eulogized Nachman on Friday afternoon, saying, “Ron was a pioneer with a powerful vision and faith. Through his vision and leadership he established Ariel in the Shomron and made it into a city in Israel. Ron was a Zionist, whose love of Israel burned in his heart. Ron Nachman was a determined man who worked and fought until his last day for the values in which he believed. He fought valiantly with cancer, which overcame him at the end, but very few people are fortunate, as Ron Nachman was, to leave their mark through their life work that still stands even after they are gone.”
The Shomron Regional Council expressed sorrow over Nachman’s death, saying, “The people of Samaria, the Shomron Regional Council and the State of Israel mourn the passing of Ron Nachman, the founder and builder of the city of Ariel. Ron Nachman was one of the greatest builders of Israel, and with his own hands built a city in the heart of Samaria. In tears we undertake to continue his life's work, building the Shomron and the city of Ariel.”
The Yesha Council said, “Ron was the first of the mayors in Judea and Samaria, a pioneer of the settlement enterprise, a Zionist throughout his soul and body and an endless builder of Israel. Ron Nachman’s huge undertaking, the city of Ariel, will forever be a memorial to him.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)