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Search for missing teen intensifies after arrest in months-old case

Police comb area near Mount Meron where Moshe Klinerman, 16, was last seen in March; mother says, ‘We are afraid to hope too much’

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)
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)

Police began searching an area near Mount Meron on Wednesday, a day after announcing a suspect had been arrested in the case of an ultra-Orthodox teen who went missing when visiting the region with friends in March.

The details from the case are barred from publication and it wasn’t clear what the suspect was accused of. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended his custody by four days.

Yeshiva student Moshe 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 northern Israel.

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

His mother, Giti Klinerman, told Radio 103FM that the family received a notification “that something new had come up in the case, but nothing beyond that.”

“There is still no proof, and as far as I am concerned I don’t know anything,” she said Wednesday. “They told us what happened in the past two days, and the developments, but it is irrelevant because we still don’t have anything in black and white.

“It only put us under more pressure and makes the heart beat faster, there are always expectations and disappointments. We are afraid to hope too much so that we won’t be disappointed,” she said.

Avraham Moshe Klinerman at a rabbi’s tomb in Safed. (Courtesy)

Speaking to the Walla news site last week, Klinerman accused the Israel Police of 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.

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.

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 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, referring to the hilly terrain marked by uneven land and many hidden areas that make searching difficult.

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