The Israeli man who claimed to have been kidnapped in Ethiopia this week staged his abduction in order to get money from his family, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.
The 79-year-old man had sent a voicemail to his family on Tuesday in which he said: "Help me. I'm in the middle of the jungle. It's raining hard. Help me. I'll probably stay here. Help me, help my kids. This trouble I wouldn't wish on my enemies. Help me."
He asked his family to raise ransom money to secure his release.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry became involved in the efforts to find the man after he was reported abducted. The case was considered criminal and not nationalistic due to the ransom demand. Today, Israel withdrew its involvement in the case after it became apparent that the abduction was staged and transferred the matter to Interpol.