'Steven was Murdered Because He Symbolized West'

PM Netanyahu sends condolences to the family of journalist Steve Sotloff, who was beheaded by IS terrorists.

Ben Ariel ,

Netanyahu at 40th anniversary of the Yamam co
Netanyahu at 40th anniversary of the Yamam co
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday sent his condolences to the family of journalist Steve Sotloff, who was beheaded by terrorists from the Islamic State.

“Steven was murdered because for the terrorists he was a symbol of the West – the same culture that extremist Islam wants to eradicate,” Netanyahu said, speaking at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Yamam counter-terrorism police unit.

“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 continued.

“I think that there is the beginning of a certain waking up and today many people around the world understand better than in the past that the threats to Israel are the same threats to them and that whoever does not nip these threats in the bud will, in the end, find them in their own house," said Netanyahu.

“Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and the like are all tentacles of the violent Islamist terrorism which is full of hatred,” he said. “We have seen it - one time the abduction and murder of young boys, one time it is firing rockets indiscriminately on peaceful citizens, one time it is the execution in the town square of people falsely accused of having helped us during Operation Protective Edge, and now we also see other cases, the entire world can see horrific acts of mass murders, beheadings, and slitting of throats.”

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.