Netanyahu: Sotloff died because he symbolized Western culture

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — In his condolences to the family of Steven Sotloff, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the American-Israeli journalist symbolized Western culture to the Islamists who murdered him.

“I would like to send condolences to the family of Steven Sotloff who was murdered by ISIS in an act of appalling brutality,” Netanyahu said Thursday night at a ceremony honoring the Israel Police’s Yamam anti-terrorism unit. “Steven was murdered because for the terrorists he was a symbol of the West — the same culture that extremist Islam wants to eradicate.”

Sotloff, who was Jewish and who had Israeli citizenship, was abducted last year after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey. A video documenting his beheading was released Tuesday by the Islamist ISIS organization.

In his address, Netanyahu linked the actions of ISIS with those of Hamas.

“Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusra, Boko Haram and others like them are all arms of the same Islamist, terrorist, violent and hate filled octopus,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu equated Hamas and ISIS also after the beheading last month of another American journalist, James Foley.