Dvir Sorek, a yeshiva student enrolled in a program combining Torah study with military service, left his seminary in the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz Wednesday to head to Jerusalem to buy books — a gift for a teacher.
The 18-year-old, whose birthday is next week, never returned.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, his body was discovered on the side of a road leading into the settlement, riddled with stab wounds. He was not in uniform at the time of his death, the army said. Authorities were treating the killing as a terror attack.
“He was found clutching the books that he’d bought,” Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, the head of the Migdal Oz seminary Machanayim, said Thursday morning, as word of Sorek’s murder was met with shock and sadness by those who knew him.
“He was an amazing man, very sensitive, smart, modest, who fused wisdom and quiet… This is a man who at the beginning of the year saw an Arab walking around the area with a donkey that looked unwell, sick, so he offered to buy the donkey. He bought it, treated it, and sent it away,” Rabbi Sarel Rosenblatt, who taught Sorek, told Channel 12 news.
“I wanted him to be a man of standing in Israel, who would contribute a lot of his light to Israeli society, and his light was taken from us,” he added, describing him as a “sensitive man with a heart of gold.”
Another teacher, Rabbi Yossi Fruman, said his trip to Jerusalem to buy a gift for his teacher “very much defined him.”
“He always thought about how he can express his gratitude. He returned to Jerusalem with the books on him,” he told the Kan public broadcaster. Some media outlets identified the book as Israeli author David Grossman’s latest novel.
He was the son of Yoav Sorek, the editor of the conservative HaShiloach journal, published by the Tikvah Fund.
On Thursday afternoon, Sorek described his son as “a kid with light in his eyes,” adding that “whoever didn’t know him missed out, he used to help the weak around him who were in need of a friend.”
“Our Dvir was sweet,” a tearful Sorek told reporters outside his home. “Two months ago he had a karate exam and he didn’t get a high grade 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 received a gift for almost 19 years — for that gift we are grateful, we will carry the pain from now on,” he said.
“He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was a symbol of the love of mankind,” his uncle, Menachem Borenstein, told Army Radio, describing his nephew as a “tzaddik,” or righteous man.
Sorek’s grandfather, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, an educator and Holocaust survivor, was killed in a terrorist attack on Mount Ebal in the West Bank in October 2000.
A resident of Ofra, Sorek’s hometown, described him as a “good kid” and “talented musician” who loved nature, in an interview with Army Radio.
Authorities have launched a wide-scale manhunt for the attackers.
Initial findings indicated that Sorek was not killed where his body was found, but may have been abducted elsewhere, stabbed to death and then left along the road outside Migdal Oz.
He will be buried in Ofra on Thursday night at 8 p.m.