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Bomb Shelters Future-proof Communities

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Posted on: 
19 Sep 2017
Bomb Shelters Future-proof Communities



Four thousand rockets over the course of 34 days, driving 500,000 people from their homes – this was the fiery crucible of the 2006 Lebanon War that gave birth to Operation LifeShield. Motivated to meet the need for secure and easily accessible bomb shelters, two Jewish Israeli-American businessmen came up with the idea for providing above-ground bomb shelters. Rabbi Shmuel Bowman joined soon after, and in 2009 became the organisation’s Executive Director.

Beyond physical structures – Building communities
Bowman’s name derives from Bojman, which means builder. The impact of his efforts go beyond concrete and reinforced steel, however. He is also building relations with and between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The mandate and mission of Operation LifeShield is to protect and save ALL lives in Israel, because every person is created in God’s image, and this is why he is an exceptional partner to the ICEJ.

Visionary approach to reconciliation
This May, Bowman visited ICEJ’s German branch, galvanizing his audience with the following visionary words, “Picture this sight: Shelters built by Jews, donated by Christians, delivered to a Bedouin Muslim village! Messiah is on his way! What makes this seemingly optimistic attitude truly remarkable and profound is Bowman’s own family history. Most of his family on his maternal grandfather’s side perished in the Holocaust. As a grandson of Holocaust survivors, Bowman has made several visits to Germany. Yet his approach to reconciliation is both soothing and sombre, “You cannot sweep history under the rug.” It remains too “dark” and the wounds are still too raw. “[How can Jews who were not in the Holocaust forgive on behalf of others? And how can young Germans continue to carry the guilt and ask forgiveness on behalf of previous generations?]”

Despite the lack of a conclusive solution, there is a way forward, and Bowman seeks to overcome the ruined past by building the future, forging new relations between disparate communities, both in Israel and abroad.

The ICEJ partnership
Rabbi Bowman deeply values his ongoing partnership with the ICEJ, which has lasted for over 10 years. He believes that the Christian Embassy does not have a “deeply hidden agenda, other than standing with Israel.” He continues to convey to other Israelis, “‘Comfort, Comfort my people’ is the marching orders for the ICEJ (…) They are an organisation that recognises the fulfilment of prophecy in the land of Israel.” 

The ICEJ recognises their partnership with an indispensable and nimble partner, who effectively liaises with Homefront Command to channel projects and resources to where they are needed the most. Operation LifeShield is a dedicated, selfless, and powerful organisation that goes into dangerous situations to deliver bomb shelters to save as many lives as possible. Shmuel and his team do not shy away from entering war zones.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, while everyone else was running from cities or towns under heavy bombardment, Shmuel and his team drove in with rockets flying over their heads. They are committed to completing their mission of delivering bomb shelters to help save as many lives as possible!

To be a part of this great endeavour, please donate your gift today!


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