Israeli Yeshiva Student Stabbed to Death in Gush Etzion in Apparent Terrorist Attack
JNS.org – A 19-year-old yeshiva student and IDF soldier was found dead by the side of a road Thursday morning near Kibbutz Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion, apparently the victim of a terrorist attack.
Dvir Sorek, a student at Ohr Torah Mahanayim yeshiva, which is located between Efrat and Migdal Oz, was reported missing Wednesday night when he failed to return to the yeshiva following a trip to Jerusalem to buy a book for his rabbi as an end-of-year gift from his class.
At 7:30 p.m., police received a missing persons report, and a search began later that night in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces.
At 3 a.m., Sorek’s body was found near the entrance to Migdal Oz, reportedly clutching the books he had purchased. He had apparently been stabbed to death.
“We understand that this was a terror attack,” said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Menalis. “The slain youth is a resident of Binyamin and a yeshiva student in Migdal Oz. He had begun his recruitment into the IDF but had not yet served. He was still in the studying stage at the yeshiva. He is from a well-known family in Judea and Samaria.”
(Hesder, or “arrangement,” service usually lasts five years, during which participants are officially IDF soldiers. Sixteen months of that time are dedicated to actual army service, comprising both training and active duty, almost always in a combat unit, with the rest being devoted to Torah study.)
Dvir’s father is Yoav Sorek, editor of Hashiloach, a journal created by the Tikvah Fund, and his grandfather was Holocaust survivor and Kdumim founder Rabbi Binyamin Herling. Herling was murdered in 2000 when Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and members of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement opened fire on a group of Israeli hikers near Mount Ebal above Nablus.
According to the IDF, initial findings indicate Dvir was abducted and murdered at a different location, and that his body was then dumped near Migdal Oz. A search operation is currently being conducted in Beit Fajjar, a Palestinian village close to where the body was found.
Both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations praised the attack as “heroic,” but neither group took responsibility.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman responded to the incident by declaring that “our bitter enemies will repeatedly try to hurt us, but our response is the response of the Gush Etzion fighters in the War of Independence: to be ever more determined.”
“We send our condolences to the dear family who are in pain, and to the settlement where the hero studied. And to the Israeli government we say again — bring this war to an end, in victory.”
Ohr Torah Mahanayim Yeshiva dean Rabbi Shlomo Vilk described Sorek as “a kind and gentle person” in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, calling him “the cornerstone of the yeshiva.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “This morning we were informed about a terrible stabbing attack. The security forces are currently in pursuit to apprehend the abhorrent terrorist and bring him to justice. On behalf of myself and the government, I send condolences to the family.”