Military Installations in Israel and the DWG

Israeli OpenStreetMap Community.

There are a number of users making edits which include military
installations. These edits are being removed by an OSM user

The DWG was contacted by another user to have their assistance in
dealing with this matter.

I have taken on this task, and contacted the user.

He admits to removing the changesets in question, as well as other
changesets. This user is prolific and many of his edits are considered
good, other than these deletions.

His explanation for these removals is several fold, but mostly around
the issue of the legal question of whether or not military
installations are allowed to be mapped. He has made several statements
about mapping, so I requested the exact law he’s citing, which he
provided me. The links to the relevant laws, in their original
Hebrew is at:

Section 115

Based on his response, I decided that the best thing to do was to
collection information, look at past examples, and then render a
decision on how to proceed.

I am sharing the results of that decision with the community.

My findings in this situation are the following:

A. OSM in Israel

  1. Israel does not have an active in person community. It has no
    regular physical meetings, nor regular virtual meetings.

  2. The Israeli community communicates primarily over the OSM forums,
    though it does have an osm-il mailing list and #osm-il IRC channel
    as well.

  3. A set of mapping conventions for Israel is at but these
    are largely the work of a single user and do not address military

B. The data in question

The data in question is several changets made by several users, most
of which is simply either landuse data, or data which was traced by
publicly available areal imagery.

C. Background on “Mr Massri”

  1. Mr Massri used to go by the nick Wikipod

  2. Mr Massri did remove the objects he is accused of
    moving, and several more, across multiple changesets and multiple

  3. Mr Massri is a prolific mapper in Israel

E. Military Installations and Israel

  1. According to my understanding of Israeli law, which is based on a
    translation provided by Mr Massri, there are rules regarding
    the"tracing" of military installations is that this is a potential
    crime in Israel. In addition, “transmission of information to the
    enemy” could also be used this way.

  2. These are interpretations of the law, and would require an Israeli
    lawyer to understand the actual meaning, which we do not have in
    this case.

  3. The information on the names and locations of military bases is
    already widely available on the Internet, including Wikipedia

  4. There is satellite imagery available for these area, which is how
    this data appears to be traced from

  5. There are apparently road signs naming these installations and how
    to get to them from the highway

  6. This issue has been discussed before on the Israeli forums

E. OSM/DWG Policies around this issue

  1. The DWG policy around removal of people’s data is clear, that this
    is vandalism by deletion.

  2. Not informing or discussing the edits with the users also makes
    this qualify more as vandalism.

  3. The DWG would prefer if local issues were handled locally, and
    would prefer to adhere to local mapping conventions if they exist.

  4. In addition to the vandalism issue, the changesets where these
    deletions occured were also not descriptive

Therefore, based on all this, I have taken the following actions:

I have asked Mr Massri to revert his changesets or that we would do
so. Since he has declined to revert them (which would provide me
additional information about which changesets need reverting), I am
reverting them myself. Unfortunately in these cases, reverts often
create errors, especially because of the time that has passed. So it
would behoove the community to review the areas that are reverted
(I can provide a final list of my own changesets to review the areas).

In addition, we have informed Mr Massri that if he takes this action
in the future, that the DWG will take more serious actions, including
a temporary or possible permanent ban on his account. It is not our
wish to do that, so hopefully with this warning in place, this
activity will stop.

What we would like from you, the Israeli community is the following:

  1. If you find additional changesets from Mr Massri that need
    reversion, please email and let us know

  2. If you know of other accounts doing similar work in Israel, please
    let us know (the same way, by emailing

  3. I would like to ask that the Israeli community come together on a
    decision about this matter and that decision to be posted on your
    wiki page:

  4. I would also like to ask that the community make a face to face
    meeting, either by getting together in the same place (Israel is
    not so large that this would be difficult) or else by having a
    virtual meeting with cameras. The US community, for example, uses
    Google+ Hangouts for this purpose.

I have now reverted the following changesets:


Because the revert process is not perfect, people may want to review the areas of these changesets and fix errors they find.

If there are other changesets that should be reverted, please let the DWG know by emailing

Otherwise, we will consider this matter resolved.

According to recent activities, I have to warn: mapping Israeli military bases is FORBIDDEN by Israeli law, and certainly endangering state security. people life depends on it, this is not a joke! I by myself will not stop here, I intend to inform the police details of who carried out the illegal act. Just for you to know, using an anonymous identity does not really prevent from reaching you.

For those who want to know where the source of the prohibition found:

חוק העונשין, סעיף 115 “כניסה למקום צבאי”
Penal Law, section 115 “entry to military area”:

(א) מי שנכנס למקום מוגבל, ניסה לחדור לתוכו, שהה בו, ניסה להתחקות על מבנהו או על הנעשה בו, או ללא הסבר סביר שוטט בקרבתו – כשאינו מוסמך לכך – וכן מי שניסה להפריע או להטעות זקיף או שומר המופקד על מקום מוגבל, דינו – מאסר שלוש שנים; התכוון בכך לפגוע בבטחון המדינה, דינו – מאסר חמש עשרה שנים. (ב) בסעיף זה, “מקום מוגבל” – מקום המוחזק בידי צבא הגנה לישראל או המשמש למטרה בטחונית, ועל הכניסה אליו הופקדה שמירה או שהיא מוגבלת לפי הודעה שהוצגה באופן בולט מחוצה לו.

(a) Someone who entered limited area, tried getting into it, spent in it, tried to trace it’s structure or trace activity made in it, wandered around it without giving reasonable cause - when he is not allowed doing so - or tried to disturb or mislead sentinel or guard keeping limited area -** shall be liable to three years in prison**; If he made it in purpose to harm state security - shall be liable to 15 years in prison. (b) In this section, “limited area” - a place held by the Israel Defense Forces or used for purpose of security, and the entrance was guarded by or is limited by a message displayed prominently outside.

נוסף על כך גם סעיף 111 “מסירת מידע לאויב”
Also in section 111 “giving information to the enemy”:

מי שביודעין מסר ידיעה לאויב או בשבילו, דינו – מאסר עשר שנים; היתה הידיעה עלולה להיות לתועלת האויב, דינו – מאסר חמש עשרה שנה; התכוון בכך לפגוע בבטחון המדינה, דינו – מאסר עולם; גרם ברשלנות שתימסר לאויב או בשבילו ידיעה העלולה להיות לתועלתו, דינו – מאסר שלוש שנים.

Who knowingly gave information to the enemy or for him - is liable to 10 years in prison, if the knowledge could be for the benefit of the enemy - is liable to 15 years in prison; intended to harm state security, Shall be liable to - Life imprisonment; caused by negligence that information could be for the benefit of the enemy will arrive to him or for him , - is liable to three years in prison.

Whole Panel Law text:

that’s all I have to say.

Way 221795856 that you have deleted twice and was now restored appears as a military area in MAPI-published maps.

Are you going to inform the police about this?
Who will you be complaining about? MAPI?

Mr Massri,

Thank you for your informative post about the Israeli law.

From the DWG perspective, we are look to the Israeli OpenStreetMap community for what to map and how, and in the absence of specific community guidelines on an issue, we use the same standards that we use internationally.

So it is up to the Israeli community to decide how it wants to map military installations. If the Israeli community feels that it is unable to make this determination without outside legal help, then you (the Israeli community) should contact the OpenStreetMap Foundation Legal Working Group, and they will be able to assist you in getting a definitive legal answer.

I’m personally against the way things got deleted in the past by “Mr Massri” (without communication with the users, without discussion etc),
but I still don’t think that we should map any kind of military building and not mark them in OSM.

Do you really think we should have details like this shown in OSM?

OSM folks are mainly based in Europe and they don’t have a bit of a understand whats going on in our home country.
And whoever mappes military areas should be aware of the fact that it can and will be used against us if it comes to a critical situation.
Thats why we had a decision made in the early days of OSM (2008 - 2009) in Israel that military areas will not be mapped.
It was not defined in the Israeli wiki, but in the Map_Features by myself

Today we have different mappers and different opinions on this topic, that I do respect.

But please THINK before mapping!!!
OSM is visible all over the world and not only in Israel!


Please stop thinking you are so smart. MAPI is the Israeli govermental mapping service. In addition to the maps they selling and are available for public use, they also making classified maps that made only for security forces use and are not supposed to be public. I guess what you talking about is a map of closed air areas made for Airport Authority. This map is classified and i don’t know who uploaded it to the internet. (If you used this map for mapping here you also violated MAPI copyright).

I asking you now to remove this area from OSM. I’ll give you enough time for doing so. If you are not doing this until next saturday (16/11/2013) I’ll convey the police your details. I really don’t like playing games.

And sorry from all other users of inappropriate form in which I expressed my words. I’m really nervous because of the whole thing.

Eliot Massri


Dont miss your smartness and complain with Google map about Wing 2


What the point? I can show you much more classified bases shown in online maps. The point is we should NOT map them. If someone else breaking the law it means we also should do it? Google maps database have lot of sources, some of them are people like us, who don’t think before they uploading information to the internet.


please keep it silent here :slight_smile:
Mr Massri thinks that he is right. And maybe he is?!
I’m not a lawyer to answer this question so I will not start blaming him to be wrong.

The point is if we should map military bases or not.

Lets do a small query and check if the big map providers do map other bases or not.
A kind of comparison of those military areas. What maps to include the roads to the bases and the bases names and a way that shows the size of the base.
In the screenshot of Wing 2 there is no details that could be used by our enemy against us, I think.
But if there would be existing roads and buildings it would help our enemies.

Not this will help to understand if its illegal or not, but it will help us to define a rule.
The rule could be that bases, that are mapped in MAPI are allowed to be mapped in OSM, all others should not be mapped.

What do you think?


כמה שאתה טועה.

רק תהפוך את מצג המפה מ"מפה" ל"לוויין" ו… תמצא את עצמך מובך.

Please keep in mind that OSMF has its seat in London, and that something that is forbidden in Israel might not be forbidden in the UK. In almost every country it is forbidden to map military installations, but generally there is no problem doing it abroad — at least as long as you don’t enter these countries :wink:

According to the Israeli law, it’s not matter if the offender made the offense in Israel or aboard when it’s related to country’s security (read section 13 of penal law But you right that we can’t impose the Israeli law on people who are not Israeli citizens or residents. So what we trying to do is reduce the damage they may do. The big problem is also people who living here don’t care about the local law, so it’s hard to expect strangers do so. :confused: