(August 8, 2019 / JNS) A 19-year-old yeshivah student and Israel Defense Forces’ recruit was found dead by the side of a road on Thursday morning near Kibbutz Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion, apparently the victim of a terrorist attack.
Dvir Sorek, a student at Ohr Torah Mahanayim yeshivah, which is located between Efrat and Migdal Oz, was reported missing on Wednesday night when he failed to return 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 as end-of-the year gifts for his teachers. He had apparently been stabbed multiple times.
“We understand that this was a terror attack,” said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Menalis. “The slain youth is a resident of Binyamin [in Samaria] and a yeshivah 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 yeshivah. 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 security forces and members of P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement opened fire on a group of Israeli hikers near Mount Ebal above Shechem/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, an Arab enclave close to where the body was found.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization said the killing was “heroic” and sent “an important message.”
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman responded to the news 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 yeshivah.”
“We are heartbroken over the murder last night of Dvir. He was a student beloved by his friends and respected by his teachers,” said president and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone 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.
“At the time of his murder, Dvir was on his way back to the yeshivah after buying books for his teacher. His body was found clutching them,” added Brander. “He was a young man who believed in treating every human being in the image of God, no matter what religion.”