WESTVILLE, NEW JERSEY – For most Americans, bomb shelters are a relic of the past, a call-out to the early 1960s when Cold War tensions ran high. But for citizens of Israel, bomb shelters are a very present and living reality. Even more so since October 7.
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry in the US and United Kingdom donated 14 bomb shelters to Israel in 2023, 12 of those after the ghastly October 7 terror attacks by Hamas.
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry was founded in 1938 to provide relief and assistance to Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust. “With theological conviction, we took a stand against antisemitism through humanitarian aid and blessed the Jewish people as instructed by God in Genesis 12:3,” said Dr. Jim Showers, president and executive director.
In the Western Negev near the Gaza Strip, finding refuge from missiles is such a regular aspect of life that you will find a safe room in every home and a bomb shelter in every community. Even bus stops, often decorated with beautiful artwork, double as bomb shelters.
While Israel’s Iron Dome of anti-missile protection is able to destroy an estimated 90% of projectiles coming out of Gaza, the danger is still in the shrapnel, which can kill. Bomb shelters provide safety from the rocket storms.
Near the end of 2023, FOI partners installed two shelters, one in Kibbutz Dorot and the other in Kibbutz Erez, both in the Western Negev. Two more were just donated after New Year’s, at a cost of approximately $34,000, and will be installed at yet-to-be-determined sites.
All the shelters purchased in 2023, and the two just recently acquired, are valued at more than $500,000. All of that was donor-funded.
“We have also given funds to refurbish and move bomb shelters that were previously protecting populations that were murdered in the massacre so they can protect people again,” noted Showers. “That’s been one of the more emotional stories to tell.”
Friends of Israel has donated 74 bomb shelters in the last 10 years. “Each time the missile siren sounds in Israel, Friends of Israel bomb shelters protect more than 1,200 people,” Showers said. “We can see how the Lord helped prepare Israel by increasing our financial capacity to help with more bomb shelters, ambulances, and other medical equipment.”
Since 2012, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry has blessed Israel with more than $6.9 million in humanitarian aid through its Israel Relief Fund. Beyond shelters, monies have also purchased two ambulances and seven medicycles contributed to Israel’s national emergency medical system, Magen David Adom.
“The need to help the sons and daughters of Jacob continues as antisemitism and poverty persist throughout the world,” Showers said. “Because our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ comes through God’s covenant promises to Israel, the Apostle Paul points out in Romans that we are indebted to help the Jewish people materially, ‘For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things’” (15:27b).
And for the people of Israel today, that means safety and assurance during very troubling and unsettled times.
To learn more about The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, visit FOI.org.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Jim Showers, email Karen Katulka, Director of Marketing & Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 856.853.5590.