19-year-old yeshiva student Dvir Sorek has been identified as the Israeli soldier who was murdered on Thursday in a West Bank terror attack.
Sorek was a student at the modern Orthodox Machanim yeshiva, situated in the settlement of Migdal Oz.
He was stabbed to death when he was making his way home to the settlement of Ofra from Jerusalem.
Sorek is survived by his parents – Yoav, a journalist for the religious newspaper Makor Rishon, and Rachel, an artist – as well as his six siblings. His grandfather was Rabbi Benjamin Herling, who was murdered in 2002 in a terror attack near Nablus. In the attack, perpetrators opened fire toward people travelling in the area, killing Herling and wounding four others.
Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, the head of the yeshiva where Sorek studied, told Army Radio that the soldier had "traveled to Jerusalem to buy presents for his rabbis as a sign of gratitude, and on his way back this horrible attack happened." According to Rabbi Wilk, Sorek was "found embracing the books he purchased."
Wilk also said that Sorek was "patient and smart… Dvir was one of the most devoted and loving people I know, it's hard for me to grasp that he is gone."
"Deep grief is engulfing our community this morning," a family friend told Army Radio after news of Sorek's death emerged. He described him as a "good boy, talented. He was a poet, a musician. He was connected to the earth, to nature, to trees."
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The friend added that residents of Ofra are offering their support to Sorek's family, and that "the community is trying to strengthen them.
Sorek was a student of the Ohr Torah Stone Robert M. Beren Yeshivat Hesder Machanaim. Sorek “was a young man who believed in treating every human being in the image of God no matter what religion,” said the yehsiva's head Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander. "The loss of this sweet soul and gentle spirit will not deter us from continuing to build the State of Israel through the prism of a love for Israel and love of all humanity."
Sorek's family contacted the authorities on Wednesday night and reported him missing. Searches after him began, and at 2:30 A.M. his body was found on the roadside near the Migdal Oz settlement where he attended yeshiva.
The Israeli army is looking into whether Sorek was killed as part of a failed kidnapping attempt. The defense establishment believes that Sorek was attacked, taken into a vehicle and that his body was disposed of in the location where it was found overnight.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to say that is "extending condolences to the family." President Reuven Rivlin tweeted that "our prayers, marred by pain and shock, focus on the family of the soldier who was murdered by this vile person. The heart aches at the thought of the youth cut in the bud and the loss of a young, honest life."