By: Laurina Driesse

While the ICEJ has been helping Israel deal with the Coronavirus crisis, there is another threat which has faced the nation over many years that we are continuing to address – the threat of Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. In May, the Christian Embassy delivered three life-saving portable bomb shelters to an Israeli community along the Gaza border, while another eight shelters are to be delivered to the area soon.

The three shelters were donated to kibbutz Kfar Silver, located between northern Gaza and Ashkelon, which operates a special youth village that is home to some 250 resident children from new immigrant families and from broken homes. The youth village also houses schools for another 700 students from the surrounding region. It was chosen to receive the shelters because they did not have adequate protection for the children when they were out on the playground or in the new classrooms recently set up near the main school buildings.

The ICEJ raised the funds for two of the bomb shelters through a “Giving Tuesday” online donation campaign back in December. Several residents of Kfar Silver made video appeals for the campaign, describing how their students are vulnerable to sudden rocket attacks from nearby Gaza, as villagers there have less than 30 seconds to find shelter when the red alert sounds.

The residents of Kfar Silver were elated to hear that their appeals for help had touched the hearts of Christians from all over the world to give to this need, as donations for the shelters came in from Mexico, the Philippines, Finland, Australia, Barbados, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the USA.

The two #GivingTuesday shelters were placed beside a playground and new classrooms at the Sadot Silver elementary school. The third shelter was donated by the ICEJ-USA branch and was placed in an area where the staff of the youth village reside, so they too could have adequate protection from the rocket threat from Gaza.

“We are very glad to have these shelters”, said Leo, head of the Sadot Silver parents’ committee. “When I sent the photos of their delivery out to the parents, my phone was immediately full of ‘thank you’ messages. Everything is coming together in a better place for us.”