The Beautiful Bomb Shelters of the Gaza Envelope

The Fellowship  |  November 29, 2023

public bomb shelter, October 7, Hamas, border, Gaza
The damage caused to a public bomb shelter at the October 7 massacre, on a road near the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel, November 19, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

It’s the story of Israel—that beautifully painted murals cover the very bomb shelters that Israelis need to survive. These shelters are a necessary reality, but there is beauty and hope in painting them.

Writing at The Times of Israel, Cori Shalit, an American lone soldier in Israel, shares her perspective on the Jewish people’s resilience through her photos of stunningly painted bomb shelters, especially now after the Hamas attack on October 7:

I always thought bomb shelters were a symbol — a social commentary on the dissonance between a pretty painting and the eerie reality in which the residents of the Otef (Gaza Envelope) live in. Frequent victims to rocket attacks, people in the Otef are accustomed to running to a bomb shelter when they hear the all-too-familiar Red Alert, warning them that they only have a matter of seconds until the missile — if not intercepted by the Iron Dome — lands in their area. With that said, life in the Otef was beautiful. Until October 7th…

I loved taking pictures of the bomb shelters that are, out of necessity, consistently scattered around the area. (You can’t walk more than two minutes without seeing one.) They showed our resilience, and they showed our determination to come home and settle the land of our ancestors, including what is known as the “periphery” of Israel — less popular due to closer proximity to hostile neighbors.