Ron Nachman, a founder of Ariel and the West Bank city’s only mayor, dies


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ron Nachman, mayor of the West Bank city of Ariel for nearly 30 years, was buried in the city he founded.

Nachman, Ariel’s only mayor, died Jan. 18, three years after being diagnosed with bladder cancer, at the age of 70. He was buried two days later.

In 1978, Nachman helped found what would one day become a city in the West Bank by helping pitch two tents on a barren hilltop.

Nachman, who was elected Ariel’s first mayor in 1985, served as a Knesset member for the Likud Party beginning in 1992, later resigning his seat when a new law prevented Knesset members from serving simultaneously on the local level.

He fought for the recognition of the Ariel College as a full-fledged university, which became official late last year, though the new designation is being challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court. 

Nachman also oversaw the construction and opening of a controversial cultural center in the city.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized Nachman on Jan. 20 at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

"I think that everyone who knew Ron, and many here did, are familiar with his unique contribution in establishing Ariel, both in vision and deed. He gave his life to this vision and he realized it," Netanyahu said. "Today we part from our dear friend who managed to build Ariel into a city of culture, with a university. I regret that he did not have additional years in which to enjoy the fruit of his labors."

Nachman’s family helped found the central Israeli city of Ness Ziona.

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