Eli: A Safe Place of Refuge - Thanks to The Fellowship | IFCJ
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Eli: A Safe Place of Refuge - Thanks to The Fellowship

Eli, 32 years old, lives with his wife and five-year-old son in a block of immigrant housing in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. He loves his city, and has been living in his building since he was born - but since the beginning of Hamas' war on Israel, his life has been turned upside down.

Eli works at a large mall in central Ashkelon. Recently, however, after Hamas terrorists fired new long-range rockets at Ashkelon, he explains that "The government gave the order to close the mall in order to avoid any potential mass catastrophe." Unfortunately, Eli has no idea if he will be paid during the time that he is unable to work because of the terrorist threat.

Eli recently sent his wife and son to stay with relatives in central Israel, out of the range of rockets. "There's no reason they should be in danger if they have an alternative," he says. When the sirens started sounding and we had to sleep in the shelter, my son's behavior changed completely. He couldn't sit still and began screaming a lot. It was just too much for him."

When asked why he chose not to join his family, Eli states defiantly, "This is my home. I've lived here all of my life. If we all leave, then the Arabs have won the fight. I just want the Israeli military to be given the chance to clear up the problem once and for all. I'm willing to sleep in the bomb shelter for as long as it takes."

Eli shakes his head as he describes the state of the bomb shelter that has become his new home prior to its renovation by The Fellowship. "It was a catastrophe… simply unusable." He speaks of a tiny space crowded with junk, and lacking food, running water and electricity, and other basic necessities for life.

Now, Eli and the residents of his building have a safe place to take refuge as the rockets fly - a fact for which they are eternally grateful. Most of the people who live here are poor, and many are elderly. They have enough to worry about trying to put food on the table. We just didn't have the means to renovate a shelter.

"We couldn't believe it when we were told that Christians were going to do it for us. It's always a good feeling to know that people are willing to help, but to know that the Jewish people have friends that care is special."