Placing a new bomb shelter in Ashkelon
Placing a new bomb shelter in AshkelonYossi Zeliger, IFCJ

In a quick response to the rockets fired at southern Israel on Wednesday, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) announced the placement of five additional sheltered units in areas of Ashkelon that had been identified by local authorities as lacking ample protection.

The areas included residential spaces where homes still had no shelters, as well as commercial zones where people had no proper place to run when incoming rocket threats were detected.

This latest installation comes in addition to numerous other safety projects made possible by the IFCJ across Ashkelon, including a mobile command center the Fellowship donated earlier this year which allows the municipal leadership to manage the city through just these types of civilian crises. The IFCJ also purchased four protective vehicles that are used by local security officers to arrive quickly and safely to the scene.

The new shelters donated by the IFCJ were installed in Ashkelon on Thursday by 10:00a.m. and will provide much-needed protection to the residents of Ashkelon during these challenging times. The newly-placed shelters are part of an ongoing effort by the IFCJ, in coordination with the IDF's Home Front Command, to ensure that the Israeli public is properly protected in the face of a growing array of threats.

In recent years, IFCJ has donated over 400 such shelters throughout the country at a cost of over $6.2 million. An additional $16.2 million has been allocated towards the renovation and equipping of 2,500 existing shelters. To date, the IFCJ has invested over $69 million directly in Home Front defense projects, specifically identifying areas of the country, primarily near the southern and northern borders, that face an ongoing threat from rocket and missile attacks.

IFCJ President Yael Eckstein said, “Strengthening our nation’s home front defenses, particularly in these times of security crisis, has long been one of the primary objectives of the Fellowship. We see it as a central part of our mandate to be able to ensure that the people of Israel are provided the physical protection they need. These shelters not only protect people in time of need but are a critical reflection of the spirit of solidarity that enables our donor community of hundreds of thousands around the world to know that they are partners in caring for the people of Israel. We are deeply appreciative of their support in allowing us to quickly and effectively implement life-saving solutions in these times of need.”

Senior IDF Commander (res.) Safwan Marich, Director of the Safety and Emergency Response Division of IFCJ added, “Our primary objective at this time is to minimize the remaining civilian areas that don’t have adequate sheltering options in place. Particularly in Ashkelon, where the response time to incoming rockets is extremely small, we know these shelters will be instrumental in giving the local population a sense of increased confidence that they are being cared for and have the necessary options when they hear the siren.”