All hell is breaking loose in New Zealand media circles. The 6.3 earthquake that further destroyed Christchurch's CBD on February 22 2011, earlier this year, also revealed some underhand and possibly illegal behaviour by a number of Israeli nationals. A white van containing four of these Israelis trapped three people and left one of them dead. They finally freed themselves and left their dead companion behind - he was one of the 181 victims of the earthquake. They allegedly photographed the van and met Israeli officials in another part of the central city. Within twelve hours they had left New Zealand. The body of a man, Ofer Benyamin Mizrahi, aged 23 years from the Kibbutz Magal near Haifa was taken to a morgue, identified and searched after being recovered from the van several days after the quake. Five passports were found on his body.
On the day of the earthquake an unaccredited search and rescue squad from Israel was rejected by NZ authorities and discovered in the sealed off "red zone" by armed police who removed them from the area.
Other points of interest were the NZ Prime Minister, John Key, receiving four calls that day from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. What were the calls about?
Israel's ambassador in the Pacific, Shemi Tzur, based in Australia, booked flights to Christchurch, where he visited the morgue. Israel's civil defence chief left Israel for Christchurch as well. I discussed the urban search and rescue team which had not been accredited by the UN above.
There is a suspicion that the Israeli officials were more concerned about finding Mr Mizrahi than being concerned about the safety of Israeli nationals.
The confrontation between the USAR team and armed policemen is understood to have led later to some intense diplomatic tension.
However a forensic analysis team sent by the Israeli government was welcomed in Christchurch and worked on victim identification.
Later the NZ Security Intelligence Service (SIS) became suspicious about the passports found on Mizrahi's body, the immediate flight back to Israel by his three comrades within just 12 hours, and the high-powered Israeli interest shown in the earthquake,the behaviour of the so-called search and rescue team in the CBD "red zone" and a mysterious seventh Israeli, in New Zealand illegally and reported missing in the quake, then weeks later was reported to have left the country.
The Israeli ambassador, Shemi Tzur, has dismissed the NZ claims as "science fiction" suspicions that agents of Israel's secret service,Mossad, had been caught up in February earthquake. Maybe, maybe not! New Zealand has had experience with the Mossad before. John key denies the Israeli connection.
However the breaking story in New Zealand is whether Israeli spies hacked into New Zealand's national police computer? That will be the basis for another story here, perhaps, later down the track. The United Kingdom has their phone hacking controversy, we may well have our own.