Sotloff, the Murdered US Journalist Was Actually an Israeli
Journalist beheaded by Islamic State had made aliyah, risked his life to fast on Yom Kippur and pray towards Jerusalem in captivity // by Shimon Cohen // First Publish: 9/3/2014
American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was brutally beheaded by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, took great risks to keep his Jewish faith in captivity, a former fellow-captive of the murdered journalist told Yediot Aharonoth.
However, it turns out that Sotloff was in fact Israeli.
A media gag order on the issue was released on Wednesday, allowing publication of the fact that Sotloff made aliyah (immigration) to Israel in 2005 by himself, and studied at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.
IDC Herzliya released a statement shortly after the gag order was released, noting its great sadness over 31-year-old Sotloff’s brutal murder and adding that he studied at the institution from 2005 to 2008.
The statement pointed out that Sotloff, whose work was published in Time, The National Interest and Media Line and Foreign Policy, had been stationed in Egypt, Bahrain, Turkey and Libya, before finally going to Syria where he was abducted by IS.
“In this act the Muslim jihad group has removed itself from the family of humanity,” said IDC Herzliya founder and president Prof. Uriel Reichman. “The murder of Steven also erased the immunity that civilized society grants journalists, even in times of war, as their goal is to guard the truth and freedom of speech.”
Reichman added “the murder of Steven reminds us again against whom humanity must stand, but it also teaches us the values of tolerance, humanity, the pursuit of justice and freedom of speech. …The Interdisciplinary Center mourns the tragic death of Steven and joins in the grief of his family.”
Heroically maintaining Judaism under captivity
Sotloff reportedly made sure to fast in secret during Yom Kippur and even prayed in the direction of Jerusalem, as is customary in Jewish prayers, despite the risk he faced if his Islamist captors ever found out he was Jewish.
One of Sotloff’s fellow captives, who was subsequently released, told the paper that he feigned illness in order to escape his captors’ suspicions.