Be'er Sheva car port hit by missile (archive)
Be'er Sheva car port hit by missile (archive)Israel news photo: Hana Levi Julian

A new organization has been formed to raise awareness about the vulnerability of Be’er Sheva residents to missile attacks, and their need for more bomb shelters.

57Seconds” was founded by Yoav Kaufman, a U.S. immigrant who attended the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) program in the northeastern Negev city of Arad prior to moving to Be’er Sheva.

“Try to imagine right now that a city just 26 miles (42 km) from you is firing live rockets at you,” he suggested. “The feeling of being outside and unprotected when a rocket is headed your way is something no one should have to go through.”    

Kaufman, who works as vice president of online media at Negev Direct Marketing Inc., said he created the NGO (nongovernmental organization) “as a response to the 12,000+ rockets fired at the South of Israel over the last 12 years by Hamas from Gaza.”

There is no fully effective political or military solution in sight to prevent such attacks from recurring, he pointed out.  Most recently, during the November 2012 “Pillar of Defense” counter terror offensive against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Be’er Sheva and southern Israel came under fire from hundreds of rockets and missiles.

The organization’s name, 57Seconds, is “the amount of time we have in Be’er Sheva, Israel from when we hear a rocket siren, to the time a rocket explodes in our city.”

Kaufman appeals to visitors on his website to “help raise awareness about the security situation in the south of Israel,” and to raise funds for a public bomb shelter, “so when the rockets fall again, we’ll all have a safe place to go.”

At present, Kaufman is hoping to purchase a $13,000 “bell shelter” that can accommodate up to 10 people. “The small size of these type of shelters allows for smooth placement, “ he explained. “They are for public, not private use, and they are proven to withstand the blast of a Qassam rocket.” 

Bell shelters, each weighing 10 tons, can be used at kindergartens, senior centers, parks, farms, recreational centers and security posts, he added.