Steven Sotloff (Steven Joel Sotloff)

Steven Sotloff

Steven Sotloff (Hebrew: סטיבן סוטלוף‎‎; May 11, 1983 – c. September 2, 2014) was an American-Israeli journalist. In August 2013, he was kidnapped in Aleppo, Syria, and held captive by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). Steven Sotloff was the son of Arthur and Shirley Sotloff of Pinecrest, Florida, a suburb of Miami, and a grandson of Holocaust survivors, who inspired him to be “a voice for the voiceless.” He was the brother of Lauren Sotloff. He grew up in Pinecrest, Florida, graduated from Kimball Union Academy, a private boarding school in Meriden, New Hampshire, and later attended (but did not graduate from) the University of Central Florida with a major in journalism from 2002 to 2004. He transferred to the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel from 2005 to 2008, graduating cum laude with a major in government studies and counter-terrorism. Steven Sotloff made Aliyah to Israel after a Birthright trip inspired him to fall in love with the country, and held citizenship of both the United States and Israel, although his Jewish background and Israeli citizenship were not made public during his work in Muslim countries or during his captivity for fear that the information might endanger his release.

On September 2, 2014, ISIL released a beheading video, showing one of its members beheading Sotloff. Following Steven Sotloff’s beheading, U.S. President Barack Obama stated that the United States will take action to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. President Obama also signed an Executive Order dated June 24, 2015, in the presence of his family and other hostage families, overhauling how the U.S. handles U.S. hostages held abroad by groups such as ISIS. It was the capture and beheading of Steven Sotloff and James Foley that first made the general public aware of the ISIL group, when their beheadings were shown on international television. Steven Sotloff’s legacy is, in part, that he broke the Benghazi story to CNN that there was no protest, and that he foresaw the massive Syrian Refugee Crisis as he reported on the everyday people’s suffering in Syria, thus earning him the reputation as “The Voice for the Voiceless.”


  • May, 11, 1983
  • USA
  • Miami, Florida


  • September, 02, 2014
  • Syria

Cause of Death

  • decapitation

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