Mysterious 'Site 911' in Israel Raises Eyebrows
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.
“Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base,” The Washington Post reported.
Security concerns at the site are so great that non-Israeli employees hired by the builder can come only from “the U.S., Canada, Western Europe countries, Poland, Moldavia, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Romania and China,” according to a Corps notice.
“The employment of Palestinians is also forbidden,” it says.
According to security regulations, the site “shall have one gate only for both entering and exiting” and “no exit or entrance to the site shall be allowed during work hours except for supply trucks." Guards will be Israeli citizens with experience in the Israeli air force. Also, “the collection of information of any type whatsoever related to base activities is prohibited.”
According to The Washington Post the Corps also offered a “lengthy description” of the mezuzas the contractor is to provide “for each door or opening exclusive of toilets or shower rooms” in the Site 911 building.
The Corps notes that the mezuzas “shall be written in inerasable ink, on . . . uncoated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing may be “Ashkenazik or Sepharadik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.”
It ads that the mezuazs “shall be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proof-read for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate."
Furthermore, all mezuzas for the facility “shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”
Site 911 is the latest in a long history of military construction projects the United States has undertaken for the IDF under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
The 1998 Wye River Memorandum between Israel and the Palestinian Authority led to about $500 million in U.S. construction of military facilities for the Jewish state, most of which were initially based in an undeveloped part of the Negev Desert.
According to Corps publication, over the years it has built underground hangars for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons (though Israel does not admit having such weapons), command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators.
The Pentagon on Tuesday inquired into the purpose of the mysterious Site 911, but the Corps said on Wednesday said that only an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman could provide an answer, The Washington Post reported.