Missing Israeli: Important Testimony Received

As ZAKA rescue teams redouble efforts with witness testimony, ministers Deri and Elkin work to get permits to expand tools for search.

Reut Hadar ,

ZAKA command room
ZAKA command room

Searches recommenced in Ukraine's Uman at first light on Friday morning after traces of the missing Israeli Amir Ohana, who has not been spotted since going off to be alone on Tuesday in the city frequented by many Jews on Rosh Hashanah.

The ZAKA rescue organization's command room held an evaluation of the status late Thursday night, under the leadership of ZAKA Special Operations Director Haim Outmezgine who is heading the rescue team.

In a potentially major development, volunteers with the organization have received testimony from witnesses who saw Ohana in the last hours before he disappeared on Tuesday, during the second day of the Jewish New Year holiday.

"We received several important testimonies from people who saw him or were with him recently," said Outmezgine. "Therefore, this morning the searches are focusing on locations that the people indicated. All of the information is being checked immediately by the volunteers who are searching on the ground."

On Friday morning the volunteers were divided into dozens of teams, with each one given a section of land to scour, while a drone aids from the air. The search is focusing on Sofyivsky forest in Uman, where Chaim Vingarten, head of ZAKA's operations branch, told Arutz Sheva various potential dangers exist for the missing Israeli.

The case of Ohana, who suffers from epilepsy, has spurred Israeli politicians to take action.

Economics Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), who is in Ukraine, contacted Outmezgine and ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi, asking what kind of aid the search efforts require.

The ministers, together with the Foreign Ministry, set to work to get special permission to add ZAKA's canine unit to the efforts in Uman.

Additionally, Deri is helping to receive a permit to dispatch divers to the river adjacent to the grave of the famous Rabbi Nahman of Breslov in Uman.

"We are working to receive the permits to fly ZAKA search dogs from Israel to Ukraine, which will help us greatly in our searches on the ground," said Outmezgine. "Currently dozens of ZAKA volunteers are deployed on the ground, as well as people from Uman, and family members of the missing person."

"We are doing the maximum to locate him as soon as possible."