Hundreds search for missing IAF cadet

Eshel Zilberstein,19, missing since Saturday night, failed to report to IDF base; footage shows him throwing weapon into trash can


Hundreds of military officials, policemen and civilians are conducting a wide search since the early hours of Sunday morning for Eshel Zilberstein a 19-year-old Air Force cadet who has been missing since Saturday night.

The cadet, from northern Israel enlisted in the IDF several months ago and was scheduled to return to the Hatzerim base in southern Israel where he serves on Sunday. He was carrying his personal weapon.


החיפושים אחרי החייל הנעדר, היום (צילום: עידו ארז)

Searching for Eshel (Photo: Ido Erez)

The search began when he failed to report to the base after a weekend pass. Zilberstein had recently completed the basic training phase and was set to begin the Israel Air Force training program. He has no disciplinary or mental history and is considered to be from a good family.

Taking part in the search are his friends, troops from the IDF and police canine units, a helicopter and light plane. The search is focused on the Beit Yanai area where Zilberstein was last seen.

The soldier left his home Saturday night and concerns were raised in the early hours of Sunday morning. An investigation was launched into the cadet’s disappearance and it was then discovered that he had been seen near a gas station at the Beit Yanai junction. Security footage showed the soldier throwing parts of his personal weapon into garbage cans.

At this point, large police and IDF forces as well as Air Force personnel scanned the area. According to sources, the soldier’s family had previously resided in Beit Yanai but moved to the north several years ago.


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By:Raanan Ben-Zur & Yoav Zitun contributed to the report