The father of a New Jersey man who went missing while studying in Israel has joined police and hundreds of volunteers searching the forest outside Jerusalem where his son disappeared.
Yeshiva student Aaron Sofer, 23, was reported missing Friday by a friend who was hiking with him in the Jerusalem Forest, Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN.
Sofer’s father, Moshe Zvi Sofer, arrived in Israel Monday with his wife from their home in Lakewood, New Jersey, to join the search, which is now in its fifth day.
The couple is offering a 100,000 shekel (about $28,000) reward for whoever finds their son, Sofer’s father said in a video posted online.
“It means a lot to us that everyone is doing their share, whatever they could to help us find my son,” he told CNN at the search site Wednesday.
Police, volunteers search forest
Avishai Landau, who is organizing the search, said the group of “hundreds and hundreds of people” started combing the forest Saturday.
Landau, who’s been volunteering on search and rescue missions for years, called Sofer’s disappearance “extremely unusual,” and said that the search party has come up empty-handed.
“We have absolutely nothing that could explain what happened to him,” he said.
Police have questioned a friend of Sofer’s who was “the last man who saw him face-to-face, eye-to-eye,” Rosenfeld said.
The friend lost contact with Sofer while walking with him and reported the disappearance to authorities, the police spokesman added.
SOURCE: Leigh Remizowski and Michael Schwartz