Missing IAF cadet found alive and well in Eilat

Eshel Zilberstein, who went missing Saturday night, found safe and sound in coffee shop
Yoav Zitun


Eshel Zilberstein, a 19-year-old Air Force cadet who had been missing since Saturday night, was found alive and well in Eilat, Ynet reported Sunday night.


Police said he was making his way back to his home in Shimshit, located in Israel’s Lower Galilee region. His reasons for travelling to Eilat remain unknown at this point.


An investigation found that he had withdrawn a large sum of money prior to his disappearance.

מאות השתתפו בחיפושים. בית ינאי, היום (צילום: עידו ארז)

Hundreds took part in search (Photo: Ido Erez)


Passersby spotted Zilbwerstein sitting alone in a coffee shop in one of Eilat’s tourist districts. It is estimated that Zilberstein’s disappearance was related to his army service. The cadet’s relatives said posting his photo on Facebook assisted in his identification.


Hundreds of military officials, policemen and civilians had been searching for the cadet, who will be interrogated by Military Police, since the early morning hours.



The cadet enlisted in the IDF several months ago and was scheduled to return to the Hatzerim base in the south on Sunday. However, he failed to report to the base after a weekend pass.


The investigation discovered that the cadet 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.


The cadet’s mother said she did not detect any unusual behavior on her son’s part prior to his disappearance. During a press conference, she pleaded with him to return home: „We understand that it is difficult for you and that you need time to think, but we want to help you find a solution to the difficulties. We can work it out when you return.”


Raanan Ben-Zur, Ahiya Raved and Ahuva Mamos contributed to the report