Body found in Jerusalem Forest may be that of missing N.J. yeshiva student

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A dead body believed to be that of Aaron Sofer, a yeshiva student from New Jersey who went missing in the Jerusalem Forest, reportedly has been found. The body has yet to be positively identified.

Hatzolah announced via Twitter late Thursday afternoon that the body of Sofer, 23, was found in the Jerusalem forest and that the search had been called off.

Israeli Police said that a body has been found, but did not say more. The body has been sent to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for positive identification.

Sofer was last seen at noon Friday when he and a friend began climbing down a steep incline on a hiking trail. The friend called police several hours later and reported Sofer missing.

Prayer vigils have been held in Lakewood since Sofer’s disappearance.

Sofer’s parents, who traveled to Israel after Sofer went missing, released a video Tuesday on social media begging for information leading to his return and offering the reward of 100,000 shekels, or about $28,000.

In June, a Palestinian teen was abducted and then taken to the Jerusalem Forest, where he was knocked out and burned to death. The murder is being treated as a revenge attack for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.