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United Hatzalah Speaks with YWN about Finding the Body of Aaron Sofer Z’L

CaptureEli Beer, the founder of United Hatzolah, spoke with YWN and discussed the finding of the body of Aaron Sofer Z’L.

It seems that in the past days, the search teams were focusing on the exact area where Aaron was last seen in the Jerusalem Forest. However after days of searching without turning up any clues, Dovi Meisels of United Hatzolah decided to shift his search team towards a different area that had been unchecked. The area where the body was found was in the Ein Kerem area, which is not far from the original search but albeit a different location.


Around 4:00 PM Israel time, a SOS message appeared on the United Hatzolah GPS messaging system signifying that  a volunteer of the search team requested additional assistance. The volunteer, Yisroel Ehrlich, found a body with red hair donning a white shirt and black pants. The same attire that he was last seen getting on to ride the Jerusalem Light Rail. United Hatzolah appeared within minutes of the SOS call and sent a dispatch to the Police to arrive.

33The police are currently withholding information about the exact position he was found in while they conduct their investigation to clarify exactly what happened.

The family of Aaron Sofer are currently in Jerusalem. Levaya times will be released upon further notification.

(Yitchok Begin – YWN)

(Photos courtesy of Moshe Asulim, &  אורי דיוויס ושמואל בן ישי )

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39 Responses

  1. From now on, should parents insist on their children having cellphones, when on tiulim, to possibly prevent other tragedies?

    It might not have helped, but it would not have hurt.

    B”H we have lifesaving inventions, and perhaps its wise to use them.

  2. Why is nothing being reported anywhere regarding the bochur who went hiking with Aron Sofer. According to Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin speach in Lakewood lasy night, he is being tortured by the Israeli to try and get a confesion out of him. Havent seen anything written regarding this.

  3. Boruch Dayan Emes, tragic loss of this innocent holy boy.

    Please tell your children going to Yeshiva in Israel there is never an excuse to leave a friend alone in a forest. Especially when he says he’s not feeling well, is wearing a black hat and jacket with no water bottle in the August heat. And who has no cell phone. During a war.

  4. It’s just so horrible, his poor family. Please post levaya & shiva information as soon as you know it – I didn’t know him or his family, but if I could go I’d like to.

  5. joe123 said, ““According to Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin’s speach in Lakewood last night, he is being tortured by the Israeli to try and get a confession out of him. Haven’t seen anything written regarding this.”

    Let’s take a step back and walk through this together. Two boys go hiking together. One walks away and the other is lost. A logical options exists that the present boy harmed the missing boy. Irrelevant of what truth might be revealed – this criminal scenario is possible. The job of the police, as everyone so wishes, is to take rational steps and act prudently to solve the case. In doing so, however uncomfortable it might be, the boy’s friend stands to be investigated. Procedural rules dictate that he is interrogated. Nobody was “tortured by the Israeli”. Rather, the police were doing their job.

    On one hand, people are up in arms that the Israeli police are not doing enough. On the other hand, when they take concrete steps to solve the case, speakers in Lakewood have their tongue on the trigger and shoot off disdain. I am by far, not part of the ‘Israeli Police Fan Club’, but let’s keep things in perspective and think before we speak or write.

  6. There can be no Levayah until the medical examiner completes the analysis of the cause of death of the niftar (which is especially important given the facts of this tragic case). In accordance with halacha, they generally try to avoid doing an autopsy unless absolutely necessary and they obtain approvals from the office of the chief rabbinate

    To No. 4

    Thusfar, there is no confirmation that the other bochur who was hiking with Aaron is a suspect in the death….no one is treating this as a possible homicide and most certainly, the other bochur is NOT being tortured. The police in EY use aggressive interrogation tactics but that is not torture.

  7. Maybe just maybe, as the Geulah descends upon us … the time has arisen to remove the battle gear against Israel & its departments (whether it’s medical, police, military, firefighters, EMT, ZAKA, etc.) it is normal & responsible to question Aron’s friend who escorted him on tiyul. Harsh & strong interrogations open a person to remember, visualize & catch a forgotten memory.
    Speakers, leaders, friends have to wade thru words before using them.
    Aron’s death is a tragedy & lessons are always available to learn from every one of Hashem’s actions.
    Yehu zichron Baruch !

  8. His friend was questioned by the police and released on Tuesday, after they were satisfied that he had not harmed Aaron. The two boys were very close friends and we have to feel sorry for the friend and have pity on him, and pray for him that he will recover from this. It seems that Aaron did have about 4 liters of water with him, probably the other brought it along. We can’t judge the other boy, only doven for him.

    Certainly hikers have to have a cellphone on them. Our grandchildren always borrow phones before they go.

  9. Yehu zichron Baruch ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

    May we all be Zocha to strengthen our Davening Torah Learning and our Tznious in Chodesh Elul.

    What a big loss!!!

  10. This article is shockingly disrespectful of Mr. Sofer. There was an earlier report in YWN that a body was found in Jerusalem that may have been Mr. Sofer’s, but further examination was needed. Now this article is reporting on how Hatzolah searched for and found Mr. Sofer’s body, without reporting (except indirectly, by including “Z”L” after Mr. Sofer’s name) that Mr. Sofer is deceased. This is remarkably disrespectful to Mr. Sofer and his family. It may be appropriate to report on Hatzolah’s efforts, but not before showing some respect for Mr. Sofer by reporting his passing.

  11. I’m happy to see that some people made mention of this before but I feel the need to reiterate and clarify. ANYONE WHO FEELS THE NEED TO PLACE ANY SORT OF BLAME OR SHAME ON THE FRIEND AARON WAS WITH-STOP NOW! Now. Just imagine how horrible the friend must feel right now. Not only did he lose his friend, but he probably feels somewhat responsible too. Nebach. Assuming that all those reading yeshiva world are ma’aminim, you all know that this was the plan of Hashem and there is no need to point fingers. My instinct at first was also to wonder why his friend left him alone but after thinking about it, how many times have all of us been out with someone and separated for sometime. Aaron was a 23 year old. It may not have been the best thing to do but it makes perfect, understandable sense that they split up for (what was supposed to be) a few minutes. It breaks my heart that people are even taking their time to write mean comments about Aaron’s friend. Instead of commenting, how about taking a minute to think about how you would feel if you were in his situation?
    My heart is with the boys of Reb Tzvi Kaplan and the Sofer family. May Hashem be menachem them and may they be blessed with bountiful simcha for the rest of their lives along with the rest of klal yisroel!

  12. to all the great Geonim and “monday morning quarterbacks” out there. I agree boys need phones, but who says the phone would have worked. I had an incident in the Sataf where our phone did not work and we could not get help we ended up walking down and ended up near this same area. so before we are all so quick to judge, why dont we just stop asking questions. We don’t need ALL the answers.

  13. #18 You obviously don’t know much about the Shin Bet if you can say they don’t torture. How do you think they got a “suspect” and “evidence” in the case of that Arab boy? The only one of the 6 who didn’t have the strength to withstand their tortures was Yosef Chaim Ben David who was then framed and imprisoned. We all know the truth that it was an Arab who murdered him while a Jew has to languish in prison to please the Shin Bet and secular government and police. Hopefully this friend of Aron z”l will be able to withstand their inhuman tortures.

  14. Many young people have met with tragedy while hiking in Israel. Why do people go hiking there? Here I never here of anyone going hiking. Why in wartime do young people have to go hiking? Parents instruct your children that hiking without guides can be a dangerous activity, and a tragic one. BDE.

  15. “ad shehakodosh baruch hu meir es eineihem” it wasn’nt ment to be that they would find him sooner.
    BDE may we hear good news for all yidden

  16. The rabbi came out with a speech about Shmiras Eiynayim now. Regarding what is written concerning shmiras eynayim, it just boggles the mind that this is what they come up with at such a time- shmiras eynayim, the continuing bizarre fear mongering about women, making women something so bad so evil,, something to fear, almost like the Arabs who put women in Burkahs.. This has never been the case in all Jewish history. Our great leaders wanted us to do Mitzvot, do chesed, be kind to one another to help bring the geulah, to remove sinas Chinam from among us which led to the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash. To keep Shabbos with Joy, and bring others to keep shabbos, to daven with Kavana, to give Tzedakah, to be careful with Shmiras Halashon. This continuing focus on this topic is just bizarre- Jewish women in Bnei Brak and Jewish towns are very Tznius. men are not staring at women. The chareidi world has separated women from men to a degree never seen before in history, yet they won’t leave this topic, when so many 613 Mitzvot need our attention. What is this fear of this generation of yeshiva men being so weak about women? What is this about?? ? Our past great leaders told us to focus on many many Mitzvot and chasidim, but Rarely ever said the Geulah would come about by closing our eyes.

  17. 5 Sometimes a good question is better than a bad answer. It is certainly better than a stupid answer and even dumber comments. Think before you write. If you don’t know what to think about may I suggest the following. If you were c’v in the same situation as the sofer family would you want to read many of the comments in this thread

  18. UPDATE: The Levaya will tentatively take place tomorrow 9:30am. (Israel time) in front of Rabbi Kaplan’s Yeshiva on Rechov Even Ha-Azel. Kevura will be in the Eretz Hachayim Cemetery Lakewood section in Bet Shemesh.

  19. It’s always sad to hear about all those who die during bein hazemanim or because they had too much ‘fun’ on Purim. I know people who died young and left young orphans and widows because of some rare uncurable disease but this was completely preventable…and should be prevented from happening again.

    People need a break but we have to get rid of this idea that we need to do something adventurous, risky and exciting in order to make life worth living.

  20. Why are people jumping to conclusions and assuming that his friend walked off and left him??? in actual fact the friend went away from ahron in search of an easier path as ahron was finding the path that they were planning on going on too steep. He called up too him and there was a response. since it was steep he had to go up a different way and when he returned, to his unbelievable distress, his fried was no longer there! his suffering is great enough without anyone hauling senseless accusations against him!!!

  21. Frum-n-Fair says, thousands go hiking and you dont hear from them. Similar to car accidents and pple still drive cars. I assume hiking is a cheap enjoyable and kosher activity

  22. Please, all of us, let’s stop casting aspersions and blaming everyone involved. We are maaminim bnai maaminim and we should all recognize the yad Hashem in all of this. Aharon ben Moshe Tzvi z”l was found where, when and by whom he was supposed to be found. He was not niftar because he went to the forest. He went to the forest because that is where he was supposed to be niftar. Period. End of story.
    The time has come for us to recognize that this was another wake up call from Hashem and we need to heed the alarm. Elul is the season for teshuva, so let’s get moving and strengthen ourselves. If everyone would work on and correct one thing, even a little thing, the world would be a better place and Moshiach will come much faster.

  23. BD”E

    The family was frum ,well spoken, articulate,wholesome,

    and primarily opposite of the media ’s normal portrayal

    Before the body of Aharon Sofer was found, Allison Kaplan Sommer wrote a pointed article for Haaretz questioning why, in Israel, the media basically ignored the disappearance of Aharon.

    “It remains a mystery why it is still absent from the Israeli mainstream,” Sommer wrote yesterday. “It is extremely rare – almost unheard of – for a news story in Israel to grab major newspaper headlines and TV broadcast time in the United States – and yet be totally non-existent when it comes to the Israeli media. But that is precisely the case when it comes to a missing young man named Aaron Soffer… Not only is Soffer himself nowhere to be found – but news of his disappearance is completely missing from the mainstream Israeli landscape.”

    Sommer wondered if this was because he wasn’t Israeli, because he is “ultra-Orthodox,” or because the local media is solely focused on the war in Gaza and other unrest in the region.

    “Nobody seems to have a clear answer,” Sommer wrote. “But whatever the reason, by Wednesday, the story had been plastered all over the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania region in every possible publication and even garnered some attention in the national media – with pieces on Fox News, USA Today, and an AP story that ran in The Huffington Post.

    “But in Israel, the only outlets that have been covering Soffer’s disappearance and the search for him are religious publications and English-language media. As a result, the major international news outlets based in Israel haven’t focused on the story either.”


    “The media can really affect people’s response,” Sommer quoted public relations consultant and social media activist Laura Ben-David as saying. Referring to the first two days following his disappearance, she said: “By not putting it out there, people either didn’t know, or didn’t understand, how urgent this was. I’ve heard from a number of people that they automatically discounted it when they only saw it in the chareidi press. And I am not anti-chareidi at all… I simply don’t hold much stock in news that the mainstream media doesn’t report on.”

    The mystery of why the saga of the disappearance of Aharon Sofer meant nothing to the Israeli mainstream – and its media – remains.

  24. I don’t get it. There were 1000 volunteers looking for him. Why didn’t they check the full perimeter of where he was last seen? Why only in one direction?? Something doesn’t add up here.

  25. To No 27

    This is not the time or place to be making jokes. You ask “why do people go hiking in EY”? You say you’ve never heard of people going hiking in the U.S. (which is apparently where you live)? Millions of Israelis and tens of millions of Americans regularly hike in local, regional and national parks. Do you live in some cave in BP or Willy?

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