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September 4, 2014 12:02 pm

Sotloff’s Israeli Hosts: ‘Steven Always Walked Into the Lion’s Den’ (VIDEO)

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Steven Sotloff in Libya Photo: Business Insider

Steven Sotloff in Libya Photo: Business Insider.

Israelis, reporters and editors who hosted and worked with 31-year-old Steven Sotloff, announced beheaded by ISIS terrorists on Wednesday, praised his doggedness in getting “behind-the scenes” angles to stories across the Middle East, despite life-threatening dangers.

“I was amazed how he’d always ‘walk into the lion’s den,'” according to the mother of a family he stayed with for several days.

Friends said he was very respectful of Islam, and enchanted by Arabic culture, and hosts he stayed by in Jerusalem were impressed by him, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News.

Nor did his Jewish and American-Israeli identity slow him down.

A French reporter held captive along with Sotloff and James Foley (killed in the same gruesome manner two weeks earlier), said Wednesday that the American-Israeli’s Jewish identity was “…kept a close secret for obvious reasons, and even today, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to reveal this,” Nicolas Henin told Israel’s Channel 1 television.

Sotloff was held captive for over a year before he was killed.

“You always have to think of the captives that remained behind,” Henin told the hosts, who asked how Sotloff, who had lived and studied in Israel for several years after making aliyah (emigrating) in 2004, kept his Israeli identity a secret.

“He had only one passport, and they didn’t ask him if he was Israeli. He told them he was American, and that was that,” Henin said.”

In a striking profile in Business Insider, Sotloff would ask colleagues, slyly, “Are you a member of the tribe?” in order to surreptiously find out if he could confide his Jewish and Israeli identity with them.

While he was in captivity, on Yom Kippur when Jews are supposed to fast, Sotloff told his captors that “…he was sick and didn’t want to eat, even though we were served eggs that day,” according to a friend quoted by Ynet. “He used to pray secretly in the direction of Jerusalem. He would see in which direction (his Muslim captors) were praying and then adjust the angle.”

Watch the video clip with the interview with Henin:

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