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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Beheaded Journalist Hid His Judaism from ISIS Captors

Journalist Steven Sotloff, beheaded by Islamic State murderers in video shown on Sept. 2, 2014.

Journalist Steven Sotloff, beheaded by Islamic State murderers in video shown on Sept. 2, 2014.
Photo Credit: Facebook

Journalist Steven Sotloff, beheaded by the ISIS, secretly practiced his Judaism but hid it from his captors, according to a fellow kidnap victim who was among those freed.

The ISIS posted a video Tuesday showing the execution of Sotloff, less than two weeks after it distributed a similar video of the beheading of journalist James Foley. There is speculation that the video actually were filmed the same day.

Sotloff is the second Jewish journalist was has been kidanpped and murdered by beheading by Islamic radicals. Daniel Pearl, who wrote for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists and later murdered in 2002 by Al-Qaeda member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan.

Sotloff disappeared a year ago, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey, and all hints of his being Jewish immediately were removed from the Internet so that his Jewish identity would not be certain death sentence at the hands of his fanatic Muslim kidnap-murderers.

Sotloff’s Facebook page suddenly disappeared, and American officials told the family that ISIS “probably didn’t know or wasn’t sure that Sotloff was Jewish and knowing that he was Jewish would be like another Daniel Pearl situation, so let’s not give them that information,” a friend from home was reported as saying by the LA Jewish Journal.

However, The New York Times announced after his capture that Sotloff was “the grandson on Holocaust survivors.”

A kidnap victim who was with Sotloff and later released said that he saw the Jewish journalist fasting on Yom Kippur last year.

Sotloff “told them he was sick and did not want to eat, even though they had served him eggs that day,” the eyewitness said. “He appeared as if he was praying secretly and in the direction of Jerusalem. He looked towards where Muslims pray and changed his direction a little bit.”

Before it was known that the ISIS murdered Sotloff, his mother Shirley posted a video message to ISIS, as seen below, leading for the terrorists to spare his life.

“As a mother… I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Mohammad who protected People of the Book…,” she said.

Sotloff grew up in Miami and as a small child was enrolled in a local synagogue day school.

In the ISIS video, a man with a British accent, apparently the same murderer who beheaded Foley, is seen holding a butcher knife in his left hand as Sotloff stated, “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.

“I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing, Obama. Your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?”

After hearing the news of his death Sotloff’s mother said. “He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak,” she said, adding that he was sympathetic to the suffering of Muslims.

A family spokesman said that that they now are “mourning privately.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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