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Avichai Rontzki
Avichai Rontzki.jpg
Born (1951-10-10)October 10, 1951
Haifa, Israel
Died April 1, 2018(2018-04-01) (aged 66)
Allegiance Israel
Service/branch Israel Defense Forces
Years of service 1969–2010
Rank Brigadier General
Unit Military Rabbinate
Commands held Commander of the Military Rabbinate
Other work Rosh Yeshiva of Itamar

Avichai Rontzki (Hebrew: אביחי רונצקי, October 10, 1951 – April 1, 2018) was an Israeli Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces. He served in the position from 2006 to 2010, with a rank of Brigadier General. His predecessor in that position was Rabbi Israel Weiss. Rontzki was also the rosh yeshiva of the Hesder Yeshiva in Itamar.


Rontzki was born to a secular Jewish family, and studied at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa. He became religious while serving in the army. In 1969, he began his military career in Shayetet 13, but did not complete the training course and transferred to the 35th Paratroopers Brigade. He completed the squad leader course and Officer Candidate School, and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade to serve as a platoon leader and as company Executive officer at the 890 "Efe" (Echis) paratroop battalion. Later on, he transferred to Sayeret Shaked, and served as a company commander in the Yom Kippur War. During this time, he began a process of repentance with his wife Ronit, who he had met in his unit. Rontzki studied at Machon Meir and Mercaz HaRav, and also was involved with instructing street kids in Jerusalem. In 1980, he established the Hesder Yeshiva in Elon Moreh. In 1984, he was part of the group that established the settlement Itamar near Nablus, and he also founded the Hesder yeshiva there.

Rontzki wrote a four-volume army halakhic guide, K'Hitzim B'Yad Gibor. In addition to his rosh yeshiva position, he continued to serve in the reserves, and rose in rank to the position of chief of staff of the Samaria Territorial Brigade (Hebrew: חטיבה מרחבית שומרון).

After being offered the position of Chief Military Rabbi, many advised him to decline, due to the Military Rabbinate collaboration with Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, of which the military played a primary part.

After assuming command of the Chief Rabbinate in 2006, Rontzki initiated a mini-revolution in the command. In addition to the traditional rabbinate activities of kitchen kosher certification and religious services for religious soldiers, Rontzki expanded the mandate to include a more active role in the army, including increasing the number of battalion rabbis.

In December 2014, after it became clear that the Knesset's coalition would dissolve, and new elections would be called, Rontzi announced he expected to run in the primaries for Bayit Yehudi's list.

On 1 April 2018, he died, after a struggle with colorectal cancer. He left behind his wife, six children, and grandchildren.

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