Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the family home of teenage IDF soldier Dvir Sorek Sorek in the West Bank settlement of Ofra on what would have been his 19th birthday on Tuesday.
Two terrorists suspected of brutally murdering the 18-year-old yeshiva student near Hebron were arrested 24 hours after the terror killing last Thursday.
Cousins Nazir Salah Khalil Atsafra, a Hamas member, and Kassem Araf Khalil Atsafra are from the West Bank town of Beit Kahil following an intensive manhunt.
IDF soldiers seized a car suspected of being used in the attack and also arrested two other people suspected of aiding the suspects.
The IDF is set to destroy the homes of Sorek’s killers after soldiers identified where the suspects live on Sunday night.
An IDF spokesperson confirmed troops had examined the potential demolition of two houses.
Following his visit to Sorek’s home, Netanyahu commented, “They have an exemplary family. We saw the children, the love for each other, the love of Israel and of their fellow man is ingrained in them.
“We are determined to protect the country. We will continue spreading roots and fighting as long as it’s necessary. The Land of Israel is in agony.”
Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, said her heart was “hurting” but Israelis would defend themselves.
Dvir’s father, Yoav, said the family would commemorate Dvir’s birthday during shiva prayers.
“When Dvir was born, his brit milah was at the same synagogue where his funeral proceedings began,” he explained. “In the backyard of our house we’re now sitting shiva.”
Sorek died from multiple stab wounds near his Mahanayim Hesder yeshiva at Kibbutz Migdal Oz.
The yeshiva student, who had recently enlisted on a Torah studies-military service program but had yet to serve his nation, was reported missing after sending a message that he was returning to the yeshiva from Jerusalem late Wednesday.
Israel’s military believe Sorek, who was not in uniform and unarmed, was abducted but not murdered where his body was found.
Israeli leaders condemned the attack while IDF forces increased its presence in the West Bank following the murder.
Netanyahu praised intelligence and security forces after the manhunt.
“We will continue to fight terrorism intensely on all fronts,” he noted on Twitter.
The arrests came a few days after thousands of mourners attended the Dvir’s funeral at a civilian cemetery in Ofra.
In a poignant eulogy, Yoav Sorek said his son spread “light and goodness within and outside our family” during his life.
The family donated Dvir’s organs as it would have been his wish.
Netanyahu visited the murder scene before the funeral, promising to “settle scores” with the killers.
“Our answer to the murderers is that they come to destroy and we come to build,” he said.
“Our long arm will get them and we’ll settle scores with them. I have no doubt, based on what I have heard, that we will catch those who committed this horrific murder.”
US President Donald Trump’s Middle East negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, condemned Hamas statements praising the killing, noting the militant group chose “death and destruction” over taking care of people they claim to lead on his Twitter account.
Dvir’s grandfather, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, a Holocaust survivor, was killed by Fatah terrorists in a terror attack near Nablus in October 2000.
By Leah Waxler