“When the first missiles were fired … we ran to the shelter and I fell,” recalled Meirav, a mother of three from the city. “Thirty seconds is too little time, and we didn’t manage to get to the shelter. These were moments of horror. I was really scared, especially for my children.”
Now, her leg is sore and bandaged. As such, Meirav moved her family into a shelter because running is out of the question. Away from home, most of Meirav’s day is spent trying to divert her children’s attention from what is happening outside.
“The shelter is located right next to the Iron Dome system, so we hear everything – both the rocket fire and the interceptions,” she said. “I put on music for my kids, read books, talk and hug them. I try to give them the maximum to make them feel safer.”
Nights are the most frightening.
Meirav’s story is similar to thousands of others who live in southern Israel. But it could be worse. If there had been no shelter to go to, Meirav would have been left in extreme danger at home.
Since 2002, the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews has renovated or built more than 2,800 bomb shelters across Israel, investing upwards of $47 million.
It has given more than $4.6 million to help prepare two area hospitals, Barzilai Medical Center and Soroka Medical Center, for times of war. This includes fortifying the maternity ward at Barzilai and two operating rooms at Soroka. The Fellowship also donated MRI’s and critical technologies for trauma units.
The money comes from pro-Israel Christian donors who stand up for the Jewish State time and again.
“The Fellowship’s mission is to be first responders in the social realm,” explained its President and CEO Yael Eckstein. “When coronavirus hit, The Fellowship announced an emergency 20 million NIS fund in the first week and began distributing basic needs to elderly in their homes and to hospitals.
“It is a very similar situation now,” Eckstein continued. “From the second the rockets fell, field workers were going house to house, delivering food. The Fellowship got in touch with the IDF, Home Front Command and hospitals to identify their needs and deliver supplies immediately.”
“Right now, we are looking two days ahead,” Eckstein said. “We ask what is needed and approve it.”
At the same time, the organization is learning on the ground and identifying future projects to complete before, God forbid, there is a next time. This includes, for example, fortifying a trauma center in Ashkelon that is currently run out of a caravan so that patients do not need to run for shelter while receiving emotional support.
“I have never seen a more organized campaign against Israel,” Eckstein told The Jerusalem Post. “I have never felt such a strong responsibility to be a voice of truth and reason on social media.”
Eckstein has been uploading posts of what she described as a “voice of truth and reason” and to “tell the world what is really going on.”
Some 20.1 million people have seen her updates, mostly Christian Evangelicals, and more than 10 million have engaged with them in some way in the last 10 days.
“The beauty of Christian support is that it is not contingent on anything,” Eckstein said. “It doesn’t matter who is in office, what Congress says – Christians offer a steady voice of support for Israel.”
She said that for the past 10 days, the Christian community has stood with and protected Israel in prayer, online and by donating to The Fellowship’s campaigns and others.