Older neighborhood in Tiberias
Older neighborhood in TiberiasiStock

Doubling the number of safety shelters in the northern Israeli city of Tiberias, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews placed nine new shelters around the city this week. The placement of the shelters was based on assessments of the IDF Home Front Command which worked to identify specific geographic areas where residents required additional protection.

These are the first protective shelters IFCJ has added in the northern region of the country after several years where protective efforts have been more heavily focused in the country’s south, closer to the Gaza Strip. In the coming months, additional shelters will be placed in northern cities and towns in coordination with the Home Front Command at a projected cost of over one million shekels.

“Thank you to the IFCJ for their contribution to improving the security of the residents of our city and visitors,” said Boaz Yosef, Mayor of the city of Tiberias. “The deployment of these shelters around the city will increase the sense of security for all of us, giving us a wider range of protection during emergency situations. Tiberius is a city which hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year and it’s important for our public spaces to have the necessary response available to all during an emergency.”

“Strengthening the protection of Israel and her people during emergencies is one of the main missions of the Fellowship,” said Yael Eckstein, President of IFCJ. “We are honored to contribute to the protection of Israel and her citizens and to assist security forces in creating an effective response for people in public spaces during an emergency situation. These shelters not only provide this protection but also represent the decades of support and love of our hundreds of thousands of donors around the world in making this happen.”

The new shelters are part of the ongoing efforts by IFJC, in coordination with the Home Front Command, to make public spaces around the country more secure. In recent years, IFCJ has placed over 400 shelters in locations around Israel at a cost of over $5m and renovated 2400 shelters at a cost of $16m, part of its $30m invested in emergency and security protection in recent years.

“Our goal is to assist in reducing the gaps in protection all across the country,” said Safwan Marich, Director of the Safety and Emergency Response Division of IFCJ. “These new shelters were all placed in a calculated manner in coordination with Home Front Command, with the aim of providing a safe response to any future event, with the hope of course that it will not be necessary.”

Celebrating its 40th year, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is Israel’s largest social assistance organization, assisting populations in distress with support for poverty and welfare, immigration and absorption, and strengthening front line defenses in routine and emergency situations. Among the Foundation’s recent contributions towards security and emergency needs was the distribution of four armored vehicles for cities bordering Gaza, hundreds of first-response kits for security coordinators in front-line communities, a mobile emergency command center for the city of Ashkelon, a protected room at the French Hospital in Nazareth and an MRI machine for the protected area of Barzilai Hospital.