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Perfect timing!

ICEJ delivers bomb shelters as Israel school re-opens

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Posted on: 
23 Feb 2021
Perfect timing!

As Israel slowly emerges out from its third major corona lockdown and school bells ring once again for classes to re-open this week, the city of Ashkelon’s security chief together with parents and the youth who attend the Ashkelon High School of Advanced Science and Torah Studies can gasp a sigh of relief!

Ashkelon is an Israeli coastal city situated within close range of terrorist rocket fire from Gaza. “On the one hand, this school responded to our commitment to promote excellence in our students. These are tomorrow’s innovators of science and technology. On the other hand, we have a very serious threat from nearby Gaza. We have 30 seconds to get to a shelter. That’s it,” noted local security chief Elan Gozlker.

At the beginning of the school year, the new Ashkelon High School of Advanced Science and Torah Studies desperately needed four bomb shelters to protect their students. School principal Esther Day explained: “The Sciences High School consists of several prefabricated portable rooms that were placed here at the start of the school year. These classrooms did not have any protection from rocket attacks whatsoever, and the parents and students were very worried.”

As the school year began, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was able to help towards this need by providing two portable bomb-shelters, made possible through Christian donor support from Switzerland. However, knowing that these shelters were insufficient to protect all their children, anxious parents placed pressure on the school, as well as the security department, to bring in the two additional shelters.

“We knew our initial gift only partially met the need and the school was in danger of closing down classes if additional shelters weren’t brought in soon,” noted Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah. “However, a few weeks after schools opened in the fall, the second lockdown temporarily closed them again, giving us a bit more time to close the gap. We were so excited when we received two additional generous donor gifts from Switzerland that enabled us to finish the project.”

With these gifts, the ICEJ was able to fulfill the school’s larger need for four bomb-shelters. Despite intermittent lockdowns, work continued with making the bomb-shelters at the factory. Much excitement filled the air as the delivery truck with the additional two shelters arrived to place them in their permanent home two weeks ago, perfectly timed for the re-opening of school!

Watching in anticipation as the shelters were meticulously hoisted from the truck and lowered to the ground, Elan Gozlker, shared his feelings as the one in charge of security for the area schools.

“What these shelters have done is give us security,” he assured. “We are so grateful. Thank you. We love you!”

“Now that we have these shelters, it will help the kids to feel safe and comfortable here,” added the principal, Esti Day. “Thank you so much for your donation. We appreciate it very much.”

“Now the students can study with peace-of-mind, not to mention the teachers, who now know that should the alarm sound during the day, they and their students know where they can find shelter” said Nicole Yoder.

The need for bomb shelters in both southern and northern Israel is immense. The State Comptroller of Israel released a report in August 2020 which revealed alarming statistics that 2.6 million Israelis do not have access to functional bomb shelters. About 30% of Israelis do not have functioning bomb shelters near their homes, including over 250,000 civilians who live near the Gaza and Lebanese borders, areas under the highest threat of rocket attack.

The ICEJ is committed to continuing our aid to bring safety and security to these vulnerable border communities. Through your generous giving, we can continue to bring peace-of-mind to Israelis living under the constant risk of rocket fire. 

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