Friends and family of a man from Dromore in Co Down are praying he will turn up safe and well after his disappearance in Israel.
Oliver McAfee, 29, was on a cycling trip in Israel but friends became worried when they lost contact with him in November and contacted the authorities.
The gardener, who lived in Essex, had been cycling on the Israel National Trail near the city of Mitzpe Ramon.
His wallet, keys and a tablet computer were found on the trail and handed in to police, prompting the search.
“I know Ollie through our local church in Chelmsford, Essex,” his friend Josephine Fletcher told the News Letter. “I have known him for around seven years.
“He is very shy, very creative, very generous and a deep thinker. He is always keen to help people out.”
Oliver travelled with her to Mexico on 7 October for a week to help build houses for disadvantaged people.
“I think he was back in the UK for about a week and then went to Israel.
“He was taking his bike. Being quite a free spirit, he said he was going to fly in to Tel Aviv and then see the country. He did something similar in Europe last year.
“Being a Christian, he was very keen to see the Holy Land.”
Her husband had been texting him while he was in Israel. His last message was around 5 November.
“He was visiting friends and the last confirmed sighting was around 10 November.”
After speaking to friends in Essex and Oliver’s brother they realised he had missed his return flight to the UK and nobody had heard from him. Her husband contacted the Foreign Office which told them his passport had been checked into Israel but had not been checked out.
“We are all quite worried. Although he is a free spirit it is out of character for him to miss his flight. We all just hope to see him as soon as possible.”
The Times of Israel said his brother Matthew emailed it and said he had been was in Shlomi, a town in northern Israel.
“Oliver does not have a smartphone so we cannot use GPS locate to find him,” he told the paper in an email.
The paper said police in the south haven’t ruled out the possibility that he could have managed to make his way to a road in the south and possibly got into a vehicle.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Our staff are assisting the family of a British man who has been reporting missing in Israel, and are in contact with the Israeli authorities.”