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Police arrest suspect in disappearance of Haredi teenager last seen in March

Moshe Klinerman, 16, was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron; his family believes he was kidnapped

Yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, 16, who was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron. (Courtesy)
Yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, 16, who was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron. (Courtesy)

Police said on Tuesday they have arrested a suspect in the case of an ultra-Orthodox teenage boy who has been missing for three months, in a breakthrough for the investigation.

The details from the case are barred from publication and it wasn’t clear what the suspect was accused of.

Yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, 16, was last seen on March 25 when he left his home in the settlement of Modiin Illit in the West Bank with a few friends for a trip to northern Israel.

Klinerman and his friends arrived at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron, where Klinerman reportedly wanted to seclude himself, asking his friends to continue their trip without him. He has not been seen since.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday issued a gag order preventing the publication of any details from the ongoing police investigation, as well as the identity of the suspect.

Following more than two months of dead ends, the Israel Police said two weeks ago it would establish a special task force that would assist in the investigation.

At the same time, police were continuing to scan the area where Klinerman disappeared and have deployed intelligence and surveillance tools to try and locate his whereabouts.

“The area where he went missing is very challenging,” police have said, pointing to hilly terrain marked by uneven land and many hidden areas that make searching difficult.

Klinerman’s parents have long said they believe their son was kidnapped.

Police officers search for a missing teen in the Mount Meron area, June 22, 2022. (Israel Police)

Speaking to the Walla news site last week, Klinerman’s mother Giti criticized the Israel Police for not doing enough.

“This is a failure [of the Israel Police]. This should have happened three months ago,” she said, referring to the recent decision to establish a special task force.

“At first there was only talking, barely any action. Some steps were taken, but they were minimal. It was a joke, just so they could check a box and nothing beyond that,” she charged.

“Unfortunately, the decision [to set up a task force] was only reached after we shouted. And had we not shouted, would it have happened?” she said.

“Why do we need to reach a situation of parents not sleeping for [over 80 days], not having a life — and until they scream their lungs out, no one is willing to listen to them?” she told Walla.

According to Giti, her son was visiting Mount Meron on the day of his disappearance as part of his custom of traveling the country and visiting tombs of rabbis.

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