Sheltering God’s People

Yael Eckstein  |  January 29, 2020

Yael Eckstein at bomb shelter factory
Yael Eckstein at bomb shelter factory

I have been to quite a few factories in my life. I enjoyed the Crayola crayon factory when I was a child, and certainly can’t forget the Hershey chocolate factory my parents took us to visit! My parents loved learning new things with us, and so we enjoyed many factory tours on family vacations.

I guess the love of learning how things are made stayed with me, because my family still goes on factory tours here in Israel. Just this past year my husband and I took our children to the country’s largest dairy factory, and a fun, child-centered honey factory.  After all, this is the land of milk and honey!

However, until recently I had never been to a bomb shelter factory. It reminded me yet again that Israel is a land that faces many hardships.

On behalf of The Fellowship, I visited a factory we have partnered with that makes mobile bomb shelters to help protect Israelis wherever they may be. It was an eye-opening experience – one that left me sad that we have a dire need for such “products.” But I am also grateful that, together with Christians around the world, we are able to provide life-saving protection for those in need.

Just a few months ago, in November 2019, in just two days Israel was pummeled by hundreds of terrorist rockets fired from Gaza. (And this was just a fraction of the thousands of rockets fired this year alone). Israelis took shelter in the 5,500 Fellowship-sponsored bomb shelters across the country.

But more shelters are needed. And you, our dear Christian friends, did not desert us in our time of need. During the crisis, The Fellowship was able to raise enough funds to supply more bomb shelters in areas that are still unprotected.

And so, while my heart weeps for the children who will likely spend hours and days in these structures in the future, at the same time I felt overjoyed and grateful that we can provide a safe haven where it is desperately needed.

I learned some interesting facts on my visit. Each shelter contains 30 tons of concrete and steel, and can fit up to nine people at a time.  It can be moved by a special truck in order to protect people as terrorists target different areas. Each shelter now contains a newly-patented technology that allows for wheelchair accessibility. This new feature is so important to us, since many of the places that we place shelters are where Israel’s most vulnerable citizens – such as wheelchair-bound elderly – live.

As the head of the factory showed me around, he thanked me for the shelters and told me a touching and inspiring story. He had been babysitting his grandchildren in southern Israel last November when the rockets began flying, and he found himself with his grandchildren in a shelter that said, “Donated with love by Christians around the world.” Of course, this was a Fellowship-funded shelter. What a testimony to your love for Israel and her people! Israel is a small country, and we are making a huge impact.

I believe that someday Israel’s neighbors will cease their hostilities toward us. I don’t know if this time will come in a day, a year, or in many years. But, this is what I do know: God’s promises will come to pass. There will come a day when men will beat their swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4). There will be peace in the holy land. We will be known as the land of milk and honey, and this factory, which is so necessary right now, will be a relic of the past.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's signature

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