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Police say they’re working under assumption that teen missing for 103 days is alive

Senior officers briefed on investigation into March disappearance of Moshe Klinerman, 16; police chief says search not limited to Mount Meron, where he was last seen

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)

More than 100 days after Moshe Klinerman went missing, Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai said Wednesday that police are operating under the assumption that the teenager is still alive, and that they will not rest until his whereabouts are determined.

Klinerman, 16, was last seen on March 25, when he left his home in the settlement of Modiin Illit with a few friends for a trip to the Mount Meron area in northern Israel.

Speaking after a situational assessment in Ma’aleh Adumim on Wednesday afternoon, Shabtai said that although the teen was seen last at Mount Meron, authorities were not excluding any location from the search.

“We will not give up until we understand what happened to Moshe and where he is,” Shabtai said. “Israel Police — like in any case of a missing person, certainly a person who is at risk — is investing a great deal of effort to try and locate him.”

The police chief was joined by Uzi Levi, head of the police’s West Bank division, Yigal Ben Shalom, the head of the police’s investigation branch, and other officials at the Ma’aleh Adumim police station for the assessment of the investigation.

The police statement on the briefing said investigators were working “around the clock” to find Klinerman but the details of the case remain under wraps.

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai (right) and Uzi Levi, head of the police’s West Bank division (left) meet in Ma’ale Adumim for a situational assessment for the investigation of missing yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, July 6, 2022. (Israel Police)

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

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week issued a gag order preventing the publication of any details from the ongoing police investigation.

Addressing her son’s disappearance, Giti Klinerman told Kan radio on Wednesday that she is “sure that in the end it will be good and Moishy will return to us healthy and whole.”

Police released a suspect from custody on Monday after announcing the arrest six days earlier, disappointing Klinerman’s parents who were told by officers to expect a breakthrough in the case.

Responding to the release of the suspect, a statement issued by Klinerman’s parents read: “We expect and demand that police continue to work in order to bring our son back home and use all professional capabilities at its disposal to do so.

“It’s been 100 days since Moshe left home and unfortunately there’s still no significant lead. We thank the Israeli people and the media that have been supporting us during these tough days and ask that people keep praying with us for the return of our beloved son.”

Israeli security forces and volunteers search for Moshe Klinerman, a 16-year-old who has been missing for three months in the Meron area, near Safed, June 22, 2022. (David Cohen/Flash90)

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.

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

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

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