A New Jersey student is missing in Israel after going for a hike in the Jerusalem Forest. Aaron Sofer, 23, has been missing since he went on an excursion outside the city with a friend. Sofer is from Lakewood, New Jersey, according to Israeli police who are actively searching for the young religious student.
Aaron Sofer is an ultra-Orthodox student studying at a yeshiva – a Jewish religious school, Israeli police representative Micky Rosenfeld told the media. The parents of the missing New Jersey student have flown to Israel to await news on the search, and hopefully, the safe return of their son.
The missing religious student’s cousin, Shlomo Sofer, has criticized the search and investigation response into the disappearance. Shlomo is calling for the Israeli military to become involved in the search for the missing New Jersey student. According to the cousin, about 500 people are involved in searching the area of Beit Zayit in the Jerusalem Forest.
Shlomo Sofer added this about the search for his missing cousin:
“Something is not quite right. We have every reason to assume that something hostile happened. Bottom line: Where is he? What happened here is unknown, but it’s pretty clear that he’s not in the forest. This is a young, American student who came to Israel to spend a year or two here. And there’s no reason to assume he has committed suicide or has done anything silly or immature. We feel they should be taking further measures in terms of investigating a possible abduction.”
Israeli police have so far reportedly found “no trace” of Aaron Sofer in the Jerusalem Forest. The New Jersey student has been described as a respectful and friendly young man with no recent history of physical or mental health issues.
“This is an American citizen and the U.S. government has full responsibility to bring him home safely. If Americans don’t wake up now, I don’t know when they’re going to wake up,” Shlomo Sofer added. On Monday, New Jersey politicians also called for additional search assistance from both the governments of Israel and the United States. Republican Representative Chris Smith and a host of local officials have a news conference focused upon the search for the missing religious student scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
What do you think happened to the New Jersey missing in Israel? What should be done to find Aaron Sofer?
[Image Via: Haaretz]