Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on Tuesday paid a condolence visit to the family of Dvir Sorek, the 18-year-old killed in a terror attack in the West Bank last week.
In comments outside the family’s home in the Ofra settlement, Netanyahu told reporters Israel would continue to fight terrorism.
“I told the family the individual murder of Dvir attests to the murder they would carry out against all of us if they only could,” Netanyahu said.
“The reason they don’t do this… is because they can’t,” the premier added, referring to Palestinian assailants. “I defined them as animals and I think I did an injustice to the animals.”
Sorek was stabbed to death outside the West Bank yeshiva where he studied, in a suspected terror attack. His body was discovered in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, prompting a massive manhunt for the killers. Though formally a soldier while enrolled in a study program at the yeshiva, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack.
“We are determined to defend the country — these are not mere words, these are real words — until our enemies understand that they can’t uproot us from anywhere in the Land of Israel, including from this place,” Netanyahu said in the West Bank settlement. “We will continue to deepen our roots and fight as necessary, and unfortunately it is necessary.”
Lamenting the killing of “this innocent youth, who was entirely pure,” the prime minister also eulogized Sorek’s grandfather, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, who was shot dead in a Palestinian terror attack in October 2000 in the northern West Bank, several months after Dvir Sorek’s birth.
“Dvir didn’t know Rabbi Herling and the family was raised in the shadow of their grandfather, a Holocaust survivor and a fighter. He fought until his last moment,” said Netanyahu.
On Monday, President Reuven Rivlin and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman paid a condolence visit to the family.
Sorek’s suspected killers were apprehended over the weekend.
The Shin Bet security service announced Saturday that it had arrested two Palestinian cousins suspected in the deadly stabbing, identifying them as Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank. While the Israel Defense Forces said the former is a Hamas member, neither had any prior arrests.
Sorek was last seen leaving the Migdal Oz settlement, where his yeshiva is located, on Wednesday to buy books as presents for his teachers in Jerusalem.
Two of the largest Palestinian terror groups — Hamas and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad — praised the stabbing and claimed it was a response to a recent wave of East Jerusalem demolitions carried out by Israel last month. Neither group claimed direct responsibility.