Concern Mounts on Third Day of Search for Aaron Sofer

More than three days after the disappearance of Aaron Sofer, concern for his welfare increases with every passing hour.

Sofer, 23, of Lakewood has been studying in Harav Tzvi Kaplan’s yeshivah in Yerushalayim. He was last seen on Friday around noon time in the Jerusalem Forest, where he had gone hiking with a friend. The two went up the mountain together, but got separated on the decent. The friend repeatedly called Aaron’s name, but heard no answer. When Sofer
did not appear by six that afternoon, the friend filed a missing person report.

“A physically, mentally and emotionally healthy young man does not go missing for 72 hours,” said Sofer family spokesman
Dov Hirth on Monday. “The family would like the search and rescue operation to be more focused and intensified.”

Hirth told Hamodia that the family is very grateful for the efforts of the police thus far, and felt they were doing all they could.

“As of now, he has been missing for 80 hours, and there are still no clues or leads,” he said. “The family obviously wants to end the situation as soon as possible.”

Hirth cited the Muhammad Abu Khdeir murder in the same forest last month, by Jewish assailants, compounded by heightened tensions with Palestinians, as cause for increased alarm.

“It’s well known that a murder took place in that forest, and especially with the ongoing tensions with Palestinians, we feel there should be a military presence and involvement in the search for Aaron,” he said.

Hirth said there has been a search organized for today with a coordinated effort of police, Hatzolah, Zaka and many volunteers.

“Even though many are starting the zman, in light of the gravity of the situation, we recruited a good deal of yeshivah bachurim to help search,” he said. “They plan to start at six in the morning.”

Police describe Sofer as approximately 5 feet, 9 inches tall, slender, with a close-cropped red beard, wearing glasses, a white shirt, yarmulke and black trousers at the time of his disappearance.

Anyone with information that may assist in locating Sofer has been asked to call 02-5391520, or the Israel Police hotline at 100.