'A father who took care of orphans, a man of the people'

1,000 turn out for funeral of former Chief IDF Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who passed away Sunday the age of 66 after 2-year battle with cancer.

Eliran Aharon ,

Funeral for Rabbi Rontzki
Funeral for Rabbi Rontzki
Eliran Aharon

Approximately 1,000 people turned out for the funeral of Rabbi Avichai Rontzki Sunday, including rabbis, ministers, MKs, senior IDF officers, council heads in Judea and Samaria, students of Rabbi Ronsky and graduates of the yeshiva.

Rabbi Rontzki, the head of the yeshiva in Itamar and the former chief rabbi of the IDF, died Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer at the age of 66. He was buried in the Itamar cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Ronit, six children, and grandchildren.

Rabbi Rontzki's son, Moshe, said that his father made their family home also into a home for people with special needs or disabilities, including "Shmulik the blind, David, and Yisrael, who became a real member of the family, and many more."

"You had a merciful heart for the weak, were like a father who looks after orphans. You were a man of the people. Two years ago, the disease came. You fought like only you know how to fight until the last few minutes," Moshe added.

Rabbi Yehoshua Van Dyk, the head of the Itamar Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Rontzki, told Arutz Sheva that "he spent his entire life here in the beit midrash and especially in the past two years, even with all the agony and illness. Despite the radiation and the treatments, he would return to the beit midrash."

"He was a man of sterling character. He had a positive view of people, a good heart. He was a personal example for students like no other. He was a walking Torah scroll, a man full of devotion to the Torah, to the people of Israel, and to the Land of Israel.