4000 Israelis
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The story...

4,000 Israelis failed to turn up for work on September 11th, suggesting they knew about the attacks.

Our take...

You'll find this story in various versions around the web, but we've picked one account at Public Eye (www.publiceye.org/frontpage/911/Missing_Jews.htm).

First, how do they get the figure of 4,000? It seems high to us, would around 9% of the workers there really be Israeli? The article points to a Jerusalem Post story on September 12th:

"The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem has so far received the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in the areas of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon at the time of the attack. The list is made up of people who have not yet made contact with friends or family, Army Radio reported. Telephone connections between Israel and the New York City and Washington, D.C. areas has been sporadic and unreliable since the multiple attacks yesterday".

So it's clear this figure isn't just people who work at the WTC, or even the WTC and the Pentagon. It's just a guess, based on families who have relatives nearby (perhaps just visiting New York or Washington, or touring the US and may have been in the area), and who haven't heard from them yet. Which, given the overwhelmed telephone system, is no surprise at all, and was matched in other countries (a UK help line for anxious relatives received over 20,000 calls about potentially missing family members, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,601150,00.html). Ireland similarly reported receiving 2500 to 3000 calls (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1540543.stm).

The article confirms the general nature of the calls later, with a quote from the New York Times:

"For example, the city had somehow received reports of many Israelis feared missing at the site, and President Bush in his address to the country on Thursday night mentioned that about 130 Israelis had died in the attacks.But Friday, Alon Pinkas, Israel's consul general here, said that lists of the missing included reports from people who had called in because, for instance, relatives in New York had not returned their phone calls from Israel.

There were, in fact, only three Israelis who had been confirmed as dead: two on the planes and another who had been visiting the towers on business and who was identified and buried".

Makes sense to us, and shows that this figure of 4,000 (and therefore all the claims that flow from it) is entirely meaningless. The story was given life by Lebanon’s Al Manar television, though, and the anti-Israel slant meant it was quickly picked up across the web. Read more about this with Bryan Curtis Slate article (http://slate.msn.com/id/116813).

Further detailed debunking of this story at http://www.nocturne.org/~terry/wtc_4000_Israeli.html

For more on who died and where they came from, visit http://www.september11victims.com/september11victims/COUNTRY_CITIZENSHIP.htm . 

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