Days before what would have been his son Dvir’s 19th birthday, Yoav Sorek stood in tears near his child’s body late on Thursday night.It was wrapped in a white and black prayer shawl and laid out under the summer night sky on a gray gurney in their home community of Ofra. “Our dear and beloved Dvir, in a few days we were supposed to celebrate your 19th [birthday],” Sorek said.“I think of these 19 years and I can’t help but smile because your memory brings to mind a bright face, positive thought, innocence and love of human kind,” Sorek said as he stood on the veranda of the synagogue, where the outdoor funeral was held.He spoke into a microphone, so that his words could be heard by the thousands of people who filled the small street of one-family homes.Prior to the eulogies, many of the mourners had sung slow mournful tunes as they bid farewell to the gentle teen, who loved gardening and animals, his family and his teachers. He was stabbed to death late Wednesday night by terrorists.“Wicked death-lovers stole your life,” but they cannot touch “your innocence, light and love.”The middle child out of seven, Dvir was the grandson of Holocaust survivor Rabbi Binyamin Herling, who himself was killed in a terror attack in October 2000.At the funeral, Sorek recalled how grateful he was for the happiness Dvir brought his family with his birth and recalls how he spoke about that at Dvir’s circumcision. His son was so special, that Sorek often thought the only thing he could do was love and enjoy him.“I can’t imagine what it means that you will no longer be with us,” Sorek said.Speaking to the press on Thursday, Sorek spoke emotionally of his son.“Whoever did not know our Dvir missed out,” he said. “He was a sweet child who always looked to help people.”“He loved planting and making gardens in every little piece of land he could find. He would attach himself to the weak around him who might need a friend,” he continued, choking back the tears.“He had light in his eyes and someone with murder in their eyes took him,” said Sorek, who is a well-known Israeli journalist and author. “We received a gift for almost 19 years... and we give thanks for that gift and we will have to bear this pain.”The dean of the Machanaim Yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomo Vilk, told The Jerusalem Post that Dvir, who served as the gabbai (sexton) in the yeshiva, had been “a kind and gentle person” who was concerned for the environment and kind to “every living thing.”“He looked on everyone very kindly, the difference between the way he lived and the way he died is too much for us,” Vilk told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. “It is very hard to grasp.”Dvir Sorek was returning from a trip to Jerusalem to the Machanaim Yeshiva, located between Efrat and Migal Oz in the Gush Etzion region, after having purchased some books for his rabbis as an end-of-year gift for them on behalf of his classmates.According to Vilk, he had earlier messaged his study partner about what time he would return for their study session, and said that the yeshiva students and staff were immediately concerned when he failed to show up on time.Vilk said he and his staff had been counseling the yeshiva’s students in the wake of the murder.“My pain is the same as theirs, and my ability to deal with it is not much better than them,” he said. “I’m not coming as someone who knows how to deal with this.”He noted the seminary’s students and rabbis had chanted lamentations and songs from the High Holy Days during the night, and then prayed the morning prayer service at sunrise, which Vilk described as “a very strong and painful experience.”Rabbi Kenneth Brander, president and Rosh Hayeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network, of which Machanaim Yeshiva is a member, said that the organization was in mourning over the “atrocious murder.”Brander said Dvir was “much loved by his friends and rabbis,” and noted that he was murdered while he was helping his fellow students, by volunteering to go and buy the gifts for their rabbis.“We send our sincere condolences to the family and his friends, and will be by their sides as much as is needed,” he said.Celebratory fireworks filled the sky in the nearby Arab village of Silwad during the funeral where thousands gathered to mourn.
Fireworks being fired in Silwad, an Arab village near Ofra, during the funeral of Dvir Sorek the Yeshiva bochur/Soldier who was murdered last night in Gush Etzion. pic.twitter.com/eHFbjOeKAn— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) August 8, 2019