Israeli Bomb Shelters: 8-Year-Olds and Architecture

by | Feb 13, 2014 | Israel & Jewish Roots, Standing With Israel

One of the fascinating things about parenting is that as much as parents are supposed to teach their kids, often I find myself learning from mine. Kids are always interesting, and it’s always fascinating to look at things from a kid’s perspective, often seeing things through a prism that’s simpler and less encumbered by the bias we grow to incorporate in how we see things as adults.

Being the parent of six kids ages 8 to 20, I often consider that I have nearly 100 years of collective parenting experience and have certainly done my share of learning. Maybe one day I’ll actually perfect it, just in time to be a grandfather.

Early Saturday mornings are one of my favorite times of the week. Most of my kids are sleeping so the house is quiet, and there’s hardly any noise outside except for birds waking up. Living in what is largely an Orthodox Jewish community, no cars are heard, no lawnmowers and no TV. Just quiet. It’s one of the most restful points in the week, a time to read, think, pray, get ready for my weekly Shabbat observance, including synagogue worship, and family time and fellowship with friends.

Often on Saturday mornings I wake up first and have the house to myself. It’s a time of serenity I relish. Usually I am joined by my 8-year-old son, though sometimes he wakes up first. He plays or reads quietly, and I read and have coffee quietly.

Every now and then, we find ourselves in conversation on any number of things—Torah and religion, soccer, current events. He certainly may not know as much as I do, but sometimes he teaches me things all the same.

A recent Shabbat morning, out of nowhere, he asked me why all the rooms in our house have windows. I have no idea what made him think of this, but it’s almost as if he was leading up to the next question.

“Why do we have a window in the milkat [bomb shelter]? It’s not safe if a terrorist were to get out there and try to hurt us.”

First of all, yes, we have a bomb shelter in the house. Actually, we have two. It’s part of standard construction in Israel since the Gulf War in the early 1990s, when Iraq fired dozens of missiles at Israel because they were fighting a war in the Gulf. Go figure.

Then there are public communal bomb shelters that are standard in most communities, but because of the treat of WMD (another story as to where they went), Israelis were issued gas masks and outfitted “sealed rooms” to prevent deadly gas from doing what a direct hit from a scud missile would have done.

Today, homes and buildings built before the early 1990s are having bomb shelters attached to their homes, especially those on or near the front line, in range of rocket fire from any of our Arab neighbors who are prone to send them flying. Sadly, there are far too many such experiences, and the need has not diminished. And sadly, we are all in range.

Now, back to my son. I told him that although our bomb shelter has a window, there’s also an outer steel window that we can close in a case of emergency, making us safe inside, if needed. Of course, he never noticed this, so he had to check. In pajamas, he went outside to see for himself. Satisfied, that was the end of the conversation.

But I kept thinking about it. I was glad that he knew what the bomb shelter was for. I am glad that he is aware that there are threats we face that others don’t, in order to be ready, just in case. I’m also glad, I think, that he’s not aware that the need behind our bomb shelters is not a terrorist in the backyard but bombs. Or, more accurately, rockets in the front yard.

Living across a valley from Bethlehem, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, which has been less than warm toward the idea of making peace and living side by side with Israel as a Jewish state, we don’t think about the risk every day, but the risk is out there, literally, in our front yard.

None of my kids know what Israelis went through during the Gulf War, when air raid sirens were commonplace. For weeks, families lived in close proximity to their sealed rooms, gas masks ready to be put on at a moment’s notice. And when out of the house, gas masks were in tow with them, wherever they went.

Decades later, Israelis still suffer post-traumatic stress from the sound of air raid sirens, even when we know that it’s just a test. In sharing this video, produced to expose some of the risks we face living here, with friends who went through the Gulf War, it brought back fears and memories that they’d rather have not remembered.

Oh, and yes, we have gas masks in our bomb shelter too, small, medium and large. Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, sort of.

Hopefully my kids will grow up and be aware of the global threats against us—all of us. To be naïve is to be ill-prepared. While our neighborhood may be safe for now, other kids their age know the sound of air raid sirens and the anxiety this produces regularly. All their lives, this is all they’ve known.

But hopefully we will live to see a day that these threats are no longer, that our bomb shelters are just extra rooms with thicker doors and strange windows, a place for a computer, extra bed and storage, and that the only thing unusual about our bomb shelters will be that they have different windows.

Maybe one day a grandchild will ask me why that is without knowing the threats we faced in the past and still today.

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel. You can contact Jonathan at firstpersonisrael@gmail.com.  

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Do you think the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love? The truth is that God is the same throughout the entire Bible. His wrath and His love are revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. So why, then, did...

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder...
Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding change and the specific strategies to deal with change more...

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]