Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | sotloff | isis | beheading | hid | jewish | israeli

Steven Sotloff Hid His Jewish Faith, Israeli Citizenship

Image: Steven Sotloff Hid His Jewish Faith, Israeli Citizenship
US freelance journalist Steven Sotloff. (Mazen Mahdi/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 04:27 PM

Journalist Steven Sotloff, who was beheaded by Islamic terrorists, went to great lengths to hide his Jewish faith, as well as his dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, reports The Telegraph of London.

And soon after he was kidnapped in 2013, his family and friends worked to erase all Internet references to his faith and nationality and members of the media in Israel adopted a self-imposed blackout on reporting his ties to the country.

He expended equal energy keeping true to his faith and principles, including maintaining a count of the days he had been a hostage so that he could figure out the calendar days to observe Jewish religious festivals, the Telegraph said.

Reporter Joana Chen, a Jew who is married to an Israeli, writes in Haaretz that she went to similar lengths to hide her identity.

"I needed to constantly submerge my real identity, wherever I was. I became adept at doing so. I would check my bag carefully before leaving my house in central Israel, yanking out anything that might indicate who I really was," Chen says.

"In Palestinian areas, I introduced myself as British, working for an American publication," she adds.

Oren Kessler, an American-Israeli journalist working in London, told The Times of Israel that Sotloff never shared his Jewish identity with other reporters or sources in the field.

Instead, he told "locals that he had been raised Muslim but secular, without mosque affiliation. He sometimes even chose to tell people that he was of Chechen origin, and that Sotloff – a name that rings decidedly Jewish to those familiar with Jewish names – was actually a Chechen name."

In the hours after the video of Sotloff's death was posted on the Internet, many of the media outlets that had agreed not to disclose his Jewish roots or those of his family finally were able to publicly talk about his faith.

"We can now say that he was the grandson of Holocaust survivors, that his mother was a preschool teacher at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, Fla., a Reform synagogue in South Miami where Sotloff attended day school," said an editorial in the Jewish newspaper The Forward.

"Remarkably, in this age of unfettered social media, where boundaries between public and private are fading more quickly than old newsprint, the family’s request was respected," the paper added.

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Journalist Steven Sotloff, who was beheaded by Islamic terrorists, went to great lengths to hide his Jewish faith, as well as his dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, reports The Telegraph of London.
sotloff, isis, beheading, hid, jewish, israeli
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2014-27-04
Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 04:27 PM
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