On Monday this week, Students Supporting Israel built a representation of an Israeli bomb shelter at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, a place that has seen many anti-Israel protests in the past. Playing on the popular term of building a “safe space” which is used on campuses these days, the bomb shelter was created in order to show the irrational situation that Israeli communities face: that the only real “safe space” for Israeli citizens is in these concrete shelters.
Students Supporting Israel did this display as a response to the most recent attacks on Israel’s south, where many of us awoke to news that over 200 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel, and 48 hours later that number increased to nearly 700 rockets. Attacks like these are being ignored, not only by the mainstream media, but also on many campuses. Only a week after these most recent attacks, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups around the country continued to put up an “Israeli Apartheid Wall” – calling us terrorists and murderers.
The outside and inside of the shelter had paintings and facts about several topics including the statistics of attacks that Israelis suffer from and types of threats; rockets range map; Information about Israel’s law that requires all buildings to have a bomb shelters, on fortifications in schools and bus stops, missile protected playground; Information about Hamas as a designated terror organization; Information on salaries paid to terrorists and of sources of funds for terror like Iran; names of Israeli victims, and more.
The display in Macalester was hand-painted by a local artist, in order to give students on campus an authentic feeling of the reality on the ground as it is: that for millions of Israelis, the safe space is the bomb shelter – and that Palestinians do not fight Israel with rocks against tanks, but they fire Iranian made rockets into Israeli cities in order to kill women and children. We would like to ask students what they would do if their home was being bombed with 700 rockets in 38 hours, pushing the students to understand that the madness must stop. While displaying the shelter, the response received from students on campus was positive. One student even claimed Israel is the most beautiful country in the world, and others took the paintings to heart.
This bomb shelter was built out of wood and plywood, however it can be built with various materials and have slightly varying designs. All of the materials needed to build the shelter can be bought at a Home Depot, or a similar hardware store. With the proper tools, the shelter can easily be setup and taken down, and then even moved between nearby campuses. In the next academic year, Students Supporting Israel plans to build such bomb shelters on campuses around the country, in hopes to counter anti-Israel campaigns such as “Apartheid Walls”.