ICEJ Bomb Shelter Renovation in Kibbutz Dorot

Bomb Shelter Upgrades Provide Security to Israeli Community

By: Laurina Driesse, ICEJ Head of Media and Publications

Residents of Southern Israel are regrettably no strangers to the sound of red alert sirens that signal the approach of a terrifying rocket attack. With only seconds to run to safety, it can be a matter of life or death if a bomb shelter is not nearby. Until recently, this was the situation for the Jewish community of Kibbutz Dorot, located 8 kilometers (5 miles) from northeast Gaza. 

Kibbutz Dorot was established during Hanukkah in 1941 by Jewish refugees from Germany who farmed grain, fruit trees, and vegetables. From its humble beginnings, it has grown to a population of over 870, with native Israelis and new Jewish immigrants settling in the kibbutz.   

The kibbutz has two underground bomb shelters, which over the years became unusable. But thanks to the Christian Embassy’s generous donors, we were able to renovate the shelters and make them fully functional again. 

The contractors renovated the bathrooms, added a small kitchenette area, gave the shelter a fresh coat of paint, and installed a ventilation system with special pumps that remove moisture from the air to prevent dampness and mold.  

“All corners, walls, and step edges were painted with reflective paint to be visible in pitch darkness. This is especially important if there is an electrical failure due to the rocket attacks,” said the contractor, Ofer Tabash. 

The two underground shelters are centrally located on the kibbutz. The larger shelter is located next to a dining hall and a grocery store and is close to a cultural center. Meanwhile, the second, slightly smaller shelter is located near the student dorms for Sapir College. 

These shelters are multifunctional. During peaceful times, they serve as a place for young people and IDF soldiers to gather, listen to music, and enjoy community life. During times of crisis, they are a vital place of refuge. 

“Now the new LED lighting, kitchenette, and more make this place renewed and joyful, even in times of crises,” remarked Yael Pruzhan, the former managing director of the kibbutz. 

Current manager Dor Efrati added that when the area recently came under intense rocket attack, everyone was grateful to the ICEJ that the shelters were open and running again. 

“The restoration of the bomb shelters is crucial to our security in this kibbutz. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” exclaimed Efrati. “I want to thank the generous donors for their help in providing our community with shelters and for protecting the residents of Kibbutz Dorot.  

“During the recent escalations, the shelters you donated gave our residents a place of safety to go to when the alarm sounded, and of this it is said: ‘Everyone who saves one life in Israel, it is as if they saved the whole world.’” 

Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah, shared that since the beginning of the year, the ICEJ has helped Israeli communities with six bomb shelters (both portable and renovated underground shelters), and another eight shelters are now being made. 

“This is an amazing achievement, made possible through the partnership of our friends from ICEJ USA, ICEJ Germany, ICEJ Canada, ICEJ Switzerland, and ICEJ Austria. These shelters will bring the total number supplied to Israeli communities to 197. We are so hoping to reach 200 by the Feast of Tabernacles in September,” shared Nicole. 

Please partner with us in reaching the goal of providing 200 bomb shelters by Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, to protect vulnerable Israelis during times of crisis.