“We are saving lives any way we can, wherever we can,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ founder and president. “The generosity of our donors throughout the United States and Canada makes it possible for Israelis — who must live with the threat of war and terrorist attack — to be protected while going about their daily lives.”
The mobile bomb shelters will be placed near schools and other public areas so they can be reached quickly in the event of an attack. After hearing a warning siren, people usually have only 15-20 seconds to get to the nearest shelter.
The prefabricated concrete bomb shelters will be installed as quickly as possible in at least 12 southern cities targeted by recent rocket attacks, including Ofakim, Ashkelon, Beersheba, and Ashdod.
Each shelter costs $10,000 and will accommodate approximately 28 people. There are at least 1 million people in need of access to emergency shelters in southern Israel.
In early August, Israel suffered one of its worst terrorist attacks in recent years. In a coordinated three-stage attack, eight Israelis were killed and another 30 injured. In the days that followed, more than 100 rockets were fired into Israel by terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza, killing one person and sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis fleeing to public and private bomb shelters throughout the country, if and where they exist.
Rockets and missiles continue to be launched into civilian areas on a near-daily basis.
With national security funds being diverted to defense needs and security for schools, officials at Israel’s Ministry of Defense asked Rabbi Eckstein for emergency assistance to purchase more bomb shelters for public areas.
Security programs for Jewish institutions
Since the Lebanon War, the IFCJ has funded the renovations or construction of 2,114 bomb shelters in the north and south regions hit by missile and rocket attacks.
“Our mission is to help the people of Israel in whatever way we can,” Rabbi Eckstein said, “beginning with their need for physical security and sustenance.”
The IFCJ also has committed more than $10 million this year to fund other security efforts in Israel. These include fortification of hospital trauma units where attack victims are treated; assistance to Israel Defense Forces soldiers, including those without families or whose families are in need; and helping soldiers with post-military education and job training programs.
Earlier this year, the IFCJ also provided funds for the renovation of 14 public bomb shelters in Beersheba, and earmarked $450,000 for renovating or building operation command centers in 14 municipalities in terrorist-targeted regions in the north and the south.
A number of municipalities also have received fire and security vehicles, thanks to IFCJ donors, most of whom are evangelical Christians.
As part of its mission to help Jews in need throughout the world, the IFCJ also supports security programs for Jewish institutions in Turkey, Morocco, the former Soviet Union, and other regions where Jewish schools, synagogues, and communities have been the target of terror attacks and bomb threats.
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