Renovating bomb shelters in southern Israel
Renovating bomb shelters in southern IsraelJNF-UK

As the latest Gaza operation – code-named Operation Breaking Dawn – erupted, some of the residents in southern Israel were able to take cover in freshly-renovated shelters.

About 450 teenagers from Jewish schools in the UK arrived at the beginning of July for an educational tour of Israel. As part of their activities, they volunteered to renovate and clean shelters in the southern communities, generally the most hard-hit by missiles launched from Gaza. They knew they were preparing them for an emergency situation in which the residents would be forced to use them.

"We didn't imagine that the shelters would be used so quickly," said one of the girls. "It's sad when we heard from the neighbors about the rockets being fired from Gaza and that people have to quickly go down to the shelter to keep safe. It's simply unimaginable. We're happy that at least they're staying in clean shelters in good condition."

Another boy said: "Israelis are dealing with rocket fire and that is really scary, which is why cleaning the shelters has such a big impact. The shelters save lives. I'm proud that my friends and I were able to help the residents in the south just a little."

The youth arrived in Israel as part of a special educational summer tour lasting several weeks in collaboration with the British Jewish philanthropic organization JNF-UK. During their visit, they traveled around Israel and took part in a number of activities that helped connect the younger Jewish generation in Britain to the State of Israel. They renovated about 270 shelters as part of their community enhancement projects.

Yonatan Galon, CEO of JNF-UK in Israel said: "As part of the vision of the JNF-UK organization, we emphasize promoting social projects in the periphery, such as building shelters in distressed neighborhoods and renovating schoolyards. These projects help restore a sense of security in the south and increase social cohesion between Israel and the Diaspora ."