Not a question we hear much in the USA. But it’s life or death in Israel. Crucially, Operation Lifeshield is on it.
April 2023: 1000s of rockets are raining down on Israel.
Via WhatsApp my 100-year-old Aunt Erna lets me know “she’s in her safe place (read bomb shelter) in Rehovot, and not to worry.’
But not everybody is so lucky. Not every citizen town and municipality in Israel has an air raid shelter to escape to when the **** hits the fan.
Enter Operation Lifeshield.
With little fanfare and steely determination, Operation Lifeshield has since 2006 provided Israeli communities with over 500 protective bomb shelters.
Shelters that give innocent citizens peace of mind.
Shelters that have saved thousands of Jewish, Arab, Bedouin, Christian and Muslim lives across Israel.
It began during the Second Lebanon War, when a group of friends found themselves in the Galilee with Hezbollah rocket fire raining down and no place to seek shelter.
It was just the catalyst Shmuel Bowman needed to create and mobilize an all-action 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to saving lives. SO —
Danger zones were assessed. Strategic meetings with local leaders set up. IDF Home Front Command construction guidelines set. Manufacturers of steel-reinforced concrete sourced. Transport logistics worked out.
Generous donors from around the world were cultivated – individuals, Christian organizations and Jewish groups – and continue to support.
Is there a greater manifestation of belief in God and Zion than protecting Israeli citizens?
Sharpening shelter sophistication.
AND. In highly targeted communities, small children especially have been traumatized by decades of rocket attacks. Shelters can now be converted into inviting multipurpose rooms — yoga studios, playrooms, cinemas, etc. become joyful spaces in times of peace and lifesavers in times of danger.
Shlomi rocket alarms give 2 to 3 second warnings of incoming short-range mortars. Hezbollah threats loom large. 50% of residents live in the ‘old city’ with no shelters. On Passover a rocket landed smack between a synagogue and a bank.
But thanks to a Swiss Christian family, ICEJ has this month funded 6 new portable shelters, with 53 others refurbished: fixing leaks and faulty electricals, installing lighting, water pumps, drainage systems, ventilation fans, and fresh paint.
Donor groups often visit Israel to SEE and FEEL the urgency of shelter protection. Pictured below is ICEJ Canada YA Group “Arise” at Hof Ashkelon in Bat Hadar, 4 miles from the Gaza border. Briefed by Security Chief Amnon Ziv, they dedicated 2 shelters to the local Youth Leadership Training Center.
Today, it’s not just border towns in need. Municipalities across the country are contacting Operation Lifeshield with urgent pleas to protect their citizens.
Crucially, the shelters must adapt to a more powerful, critical mass of weapons from Israel’s enemies. The threat remains great and vigilance is necessary.
The word ‘shalom’ is more than a simple greeting or an absence of war. In the Bible it signifies safety, tranquility, health, prosperity, and wholeness.
That, my friends, is a worthy aspiration — especially in Israel.
With a bomb shelter securely in place in your neighborhood, ‘shalom’ draws a bit nearer.
Thank you, Operation Lifeshield.