Mordechai Shushan, Saadati's friend, said the family supported him when he traveled to the Ukraine. "He didn't want to come back to Israel," Shushan recalled. "The family did everything to convince him and even considered hiring a professional rescue team.
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"They supported him financially while he was there even though they are of humble means. They tried to convince the Jews there to put him on a flight back and they brought him to the airport, but Saadati hid and went back to Uman."
Shushan describes Saadati as a wise and kind man who can be "trusted with money and various tasks" but also as extremely troubled. "He often told me he wants to fight Hezbollah or go to China," he said. Saadati had until recently been employed by Shushan at a kiosk. "I gave him work to keep him occupied."
According to the friend, Saadati's family suspects he traveled to celebrate Lag B'Omer at Mount Meron and from there hitchhiked his way to Rosh Hanikra. "I don't understand how the IDF let him pass," he said.
Simon's uncle, Effi, said the family has yet to receive any information from Israeli authorities. "We didn’t get one piece of information from the government," he said. "He's mentally ill, he's unaware of his actions," the uncle added. "We heard about it through the media, the uncertainty is killing the family. The parents are very worried. It was a major shock to us all."
Meanwhile, a member of the security forces who is familiar with the border area told Ynet that the border is easier to cross than most people think explaining that the army's efforts are concerted in preventing infiltrations from Lebanon into Israel and not the other way around.
"The man must have waited between patrols to reach the fence itself and climb it. It's not easy to climb but it's not impassable, " he said.
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