On 11 September, 2001, five Israeli nationals traveling east on State Route 3 through New Jersey in a van registered to Urban Moving Systems were detained and later arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Of the men — Omer Marmari, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shmuel, Paul Kurzberg and brother, Sivan Kurzberg, all in their 20s — Paul and Sivan were apparently known to have been working for Israeli intelligence prior to their arrest and the others were suspected of having connections to the same.
Prior to their arrest the five Israelis were observed by several witnesses photographing and celebrating the destruction of the twin towers, first from atop their vehicle in a parking lot at Doric Towers in Union City, New Jersey, and later from the roof of a warehouse owned by Urban Moving Systems in Weehawken, New Jersey, the company for which the men worked. Oded Ellner would later state during a national T.V. interview in Israel that their purpose was "to document the event". According to a statement by Oded Ellner and a witnesses mentioned in the documents released by the FBI, the men were in a position to observe the attack at approximately 8 AM, roughly 45 minutes before American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower, which prompts the question of how the Israelis knew there would be an event to document. Other witness stated they saw the men in a position to observe the attack within minutes of the first plane strike.
According to the heavily redacted FBI documents, traces of explosives were detected in the Urban Moving Systems van. Items seized from the vehicle and its occupants included a 35 mm camera, notebooks, backpacks, $5,722 dollars in cash, possible fake IDs and international, Israeli and Florida drivers licenses. According to statements made by an interviewee in the documents whose name was redacted, Florida driver licenses could be obtained in a day for $400 to $500 dollars without having to provide proper identification. At least two of the Israelis traveled to Florida and obtained drivers licenses while there according to the report. All five Israelis also had airline tickets scheduled for immediate departure to destinations worldwide including Germany and Israel. Oddly, equipment typically used by moving company employees such as gloves, tie-down straps and dollies were not found in the van. Also missing was a small video camera with a foldout LCD display which multiple witnesses stated the men had used to film the World Trade Center attack.
At least some of the five Israelis traveled extensively, one having having done so since he was 18 to destinations including England, Italy, Germany, Greece, Amsterdam, France, Austria, Switzerland, India, Nepal and Sinai. According to information in the FBI documents, Urban Moving Systems apparently paid its employees less than minimum wage "under the table". The Israeli owned company was apparently able to circumvent employment laws and taxes by hiring foreigners who entered the U.S. with tourist visas, most of which were Russians, Hungarians and Israelis whom the company paid in cash. According to an interviewee in the documents whose name is name redacted, most of the moving companies in New York are owned by Israelis.
The five Israeli men were detained by federal authorities for 71 days days before being deported to Israel without having been charged with a crime. Much of the key testimony the men provided to police and the FBI was nonsensical, contradictory, fabricated, or simply impossible.
Urban Moving Systems appears to have been a Mossad front company and the FBI seems to have suspected something was awry early in their investigation. The FBI searched the building on 13 September only to discover it had been abandoned and it appeared little or no preparation for the sudden departure was made since 16 intact computers were left behind, a number which the FBI states is inconsistent both with the small size of the business and the small number of its employees. There was also furniture which apparently belonged to customers. The leader of the search team characterized the operation as possibly fraudulent and Dominik Suter, the owner of Urban Moving Systems, fled to Israel thus avoiding any further confrontation with the FBI as well as possible criminal prosecution.
According to the FBI documents, a former employee of Urban Moving Systems whose name is redacted and who quit his job sometime prior to the attack stated he did so because there was a "high amount of anti-American sentiment" among its employees. He also stated that one of the Israeli employees at some point remarked, "Give us 20 years and we'll take over your media and destroy your country".
There were several Urban Moving Systems vehicles detained by police in the days before, during and after the 11 September attack, as well as many other vehicles belonging to other moving companies which were also occupied by Israeli nationals. Several of the Israelis traveled to airports using company vehicles and were unable to provide logical explanations for why they did so. One Israeli national with an invalid drivers license was arrested at the Mercer County Airport on 30 October 2001. It was found he had also driven to the FFA center in Pomona, New Jersey. The man was unable to provide reasonable explanations for being at either location. According to a Fox News report in December, 2001, approximately 200 Israelis were arrested for spying on various groups and government officials before and after the attacks.
The 'Five Dancing Israelis' as the men are not uncommonly referred to, captured 76 photographs on 11 September 2001 according to the FBI documents, including many of themselves smiling, hugging, horsing around, trading high-fives and holding up a cigarette lighter with the burning World Trade Center towers as their backdrop. One woman who saw the men from her apartment window stated that they appeared to be celebrating, that "they were like happy" and "they didn't look shocked to me". The woman, Maria, was in her Doric Towers apartment in Union City, New Jersey, when she heard the first plane strike the north tower, immediately after which she looked out of her window and saw three of Israelis on top of their van photographing the unfolding horror, thus implying that the men were positioned there prior to the first plane strike. The FBI documents confirm the jubilant mood of the Israelis when it describes the men as looking happy in nearly all of the photographs. Oddly the towers do not appear in any of the heavily redacted photographs released by the FBI, some of which have been cropped.
Following are most of the heavily redacted and cropped photocopies of the photographs released by the FBI as a result of a FOIA request.
- The file name for one of the photographs is
file://H:\Twin Towers Bombing[REDACTED]photo\photo5.jpg
- The incorrect timestamp in one of the photographs is because the camera time was 14 hrs. and 41 min. behind according to the FBI documents.
Further information regarding the five Israelis, as well as the Israeli spy ring operating in the U.S. can be seen in the following videos.
- 9/11 Revisited: Declassified FBI Files Reveal New Details About 'The Five Israelis' – 21st Century Wire
- Urban Moving Systems – Wikispooks
- 9/11 suspects : The Corbett Report
- 9/11 Suspects: Dancing Israelis : The Corbett Report
- The "Dancing Israelis" FBI Report – Debunked
- Urban Moving Systems | 9/11 Research Wiki | FANDOM
- Urban Moving Systems and Detained Israelis
- Fox News Series on Israeli Spying on US Telecommunications
- Israeli spying in the USA: Suppressed four-part Fox News series with Carl Cameron : Internet Archive
- 9-11 Cop Breaks Silence – Israeli Mossad Involvement in Attacks : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
- The official 2001 FBI docs on Urban Moving Systems and the 9-11-2001 Dancing Israelis incident
- FBI & Police Reports of Israelis Arrested on 9/11
- The "Dancing Israelis" FBI Report – Debunked
- A NATION CHALLENGED: THE DETAINEES; Dozens of Israeli Jews Are Being Kept in Federal Detention