The Tiberias police brass have learned to take our advice seriously. We have a history with them after helping in previous searches here. They know full well that there is no group or unit out there that will search as deep in the wilderness as the IDU dogs and dog-handlers. They also know that we will be out there hours before anyone else, and stay far after all the others will abandon the search. Our volunteers are not only the most committed but they have the professional skills and experience so lacking in most of the other search teams.
As much as we would love to go home and sleep in a normal bed, I know that we are needed here and that there is still a chance to find Chen alive, with G-d's help.
Chen left his house without his tallit and tefillin, something that he never does if he intended to go away for a few days. He was last seen Thursdayevening heading out in the direction of the Afikim cemetery, where his grandfather is buried, and where he often visits to say prayers. The outskirts of that area is lined with cliffs. He also is known to have traveled regularly to the nearby town of Menachamiya. Fields, canyons and orchards and the Jordan River stand between Afikim and Menachamiya to the south. The valley splits off in the north heading to Yavniel. There are no shortage of Arabs in the general vicinity. Anything could have happened to Chen. All we know is that he left a freshly cooked meal untouched at home. His phone stopped signalling 4.30 PM Thursday evening, about the same time neighbors saw him exiting the back gate of Ofakim heading in the general direction of the cemetery and the cliffy wilderness. The last person he spoke with on his phone was traced to a Rabbi who said that he was in a confused and depressed state of mind. The witnesses who last saw him walking west in the direction of the cemetery, the fields, canyons and cliffs said that he did not look well. Chen is not well physically and is under tremendous mental strain at this time. He needs his medication, especially if he G-d forbid lays injured somewhere in the nearby fields.