Hundreds Gather to Remember Slain Journalist

Hundreds gather at a synagogue in Miami, Florida for a service in memory of Steve Sotloff who was beheaded by IS terrorists.

Ben Ariel,

Steven Sotloff speaks before his murder by IS
Steven Sotloff speaks before his murder by IS

Hundreds of people gathered over the weekend at a synagogue in Miami, Florida for a service in memory of Steve Sotloff, the American-Israeli journalist who was brutally beheaded by terrorists from the Islamic State (IS).

According to a report in Kol Yisrael radio, Sotloff’s parents were in attendance and said that their son’s happiest moments were on the football and rugby field.

As well, the report said, portions of the letters that were written by Sotloff while in captivity and smuggled to his parents were read at the ceremony. "Live your life in full force and fight to be happy," he wrote to his relatives.

The flags in the state of Florida were lowered to half-mast in mourning of Sotloff’s murder.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Sotloff was also an Israeli citizen, who made aliyah to Israel in 2005 by himself, and studied at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Sotloff’s family later said via a spokesman that Steve had been “pulled by the Arab world” to “tell the stories of those who didn't have anyone else to tell them.”

“He was no war junkie, he did not want to be a modern day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. Their story was Steve's story, he ultimately sacrificed his life to tell their story,” family friend Barak Barfi said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to Sotloff’s family last Thursday, saying he “was murdered because for the terrorists he was a symbol of the West – the same culture that extremist Islam wants to eradicate.”

“Extremist Islam sees Israel, the U.S. and the free world as partners in liberal democracy, which it would like to see gone from the world,” he added.