Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on Thursday to “secure our sovereignty over our historic homeland,” hours after the body of 19-year-old yeshivah student and Israel Defense Forces’ recruit Dvir Sorek was found stabbed to death outside Kibbutz Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.
At a cornerstone-laying ceremony for 650 new homes in the Samaria city of Beit El, just one town away from Sorek’s hometown of Ofra, the prime minister said: “We promised to build hundreds of housing units—today, we are doing it both because we promised and because our mission is to establish the nation of Israel in our country, to secure our sovereignty over our historic homeland,” according to a statement put out by the Likud Party.
“We know that the Land of Israel is acquired through suffering,” he added. “[Dvir] was from a family that has already made a heavy sacrifice for the Land of Israel.”
In 2000, around the time Dvir was born, his mother, Rachel Sorek, lost her father, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, when Palestinian Authority security force members opened fire on a group of Israeli hikers on Mount Ebal above Shechem/Nablus.
“These vicious terrorists, they come to uproot; we come to plant. They come to destroy; we come to build,” said Netanyahu. “Our hands will reach out, and we will deepen our roots in our homeland, in all parts of it.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have heaped praise on the killing of Sorek, partly due to his designation as an Israeli soldier.
While technically an inductee into the IDF, Sorek was in a hesder yeshivah program that pairs years of Torah study with years of military service. He had not yet begun the military portion of his program or undergone any military training.
“We salute our people’s heroic fighters who carried out the heroic operation that killed a soldier in the occupation’s army, who was studying at a military college known for graduating extremists who hold Talmud- and Torah-based beliefs that support killing our people and seizing its lands,” Hamas said in a statement.
Earlier, Islamic Jihad also celebrated the murder, saying, “The heroic operation is a natural response to the occupation’s terrorism and crimes at the expense of our people, land and holy sites. It is the right of our people to push back against the destruction and demolition of citizens’ homes in Wadi al-Hummus, a crime that requires a painful and deterring response.”
Sorek’s father, scholar and journalist Yoav Sorek, spoke tearfully to reporters in Ofra.
“Our Dvir was sweet,” he said. “Two months ago, he had a karate exam, and he didn’t get a high mark because his teacher said he performs the movements well, but lacks ‘murder’ in his eyes. Now, someone with murder in his eyes has taken him. We will carry the pain.”