Father Joins Search
Aaron Sofer's father has joined the search in the Jerusalem Forest to find the 23-year-old Lakewood student who was last seen on Friday.
Moshe Zvi Sofer, who met with Israeli police along with his wife for an update on the search, told CNN "It means a lot to us that everyone is doing their share, whatever they could to help us find my son" as he joined hundreds of volunteers who are still looking for the yeshiva student. The couple also announced a reward of $28,000 for information leading to Aaron's return.
A friend of the family said Wednesday was Aaron's 23rd Hebrew birthday.
The website JPUpdates.com posted a video claiming to show Aaron, dressed in Orthodox clothing, boarding a light rail car and then cutting to him getting off. The video is not dated and does identify any location.
Speculation about a possible kidnapping has increased, however, as there were no claims of responsibility have yet been made. According to the the New York Daily News, investigators are comparing Aaron's disappearance to other kidnappings. They recall that Hamas initially denied kidnapping Israeli students Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16 who were later found dead triggering Israel to begin its attacks on Hamas.
Search organizer Avishai Landau called Aaron's disappearance"extremely unusual" and admitted to CNN "We have absolutely nothing that could explain what happened to him," he said. Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld added that is is "not clear at all" if Aaron was kidnapped.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th District) in a letter updated Secretary of State John Kerry (D) on the search and requested him to ask the Israeli government to form a Task Force made up of the Israeli Defense Force, Israeli National Police, and the Israeli intelligence service to step up their search. "Given the competent search by the police and thousands of volunteers, it becomes increasingly conceivable that Aharon is not in the forest any longer – a point his parents are making," wrote Smith.
Actress Rena Sofer, best known for her role on ABC's "General Hospital" as Lois Cerullo, revealed that Aaron is her cousin. "Please Israel keep looking for him. Bring my cousin home!!" she tweeted.