Evangelical Christians from around the world have donated nine portable bomb shelters to communities near the Gaza border that have been under constant rocket attack during the current round of conflict.
The shelters are scheduled for delivery in the next few days.Another six shelters have been ordered and will soon be sent to communities located near the Lebanon border.
The effort was spearheaded by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ).
“Christians around the world want to do something positive to help Israel now,” David Parsons, ICEJ vice president and senior international spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post.
“They are praying and standing up for Israel in their own countries, but feel this is something that they can do to really make a contribution to security and peace in Israel.”
He said that “the more people are sheltered, the fewer casualties there will be, and the more futile Hamas will see attacking Israel like this is.”
ICEJ has been donating portable shelters to communities at risk since 2008, when it provided more than 50 shelters to be placed by bus stops in Sderot. In total, the organization, with the support of Christians worldwide, has given 118 shelters to southern Israeli communities, working in conjunction with Operation Lifeshield to ensure the shelters are built to Israel Defense Forces standards.
Most of the shelters have been donated to schools, daycare centers, medical clinics and youth centers – places that cannot operate without adequate bomb shelters. Parsons said his team rushed to raise additional funds in recent days and secure more shelters as the security situation quickly deteriorated.
“Israeli residents in the Gaza envelope have only seconds to reach safety, and they repeatedly have told us that these shelters indeed save lives,” ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler said. “They also have given these families living in harm’s way the peace of mind they need to stay put and lead their daily lives despite the constant rocket threat."
At the same time, Bühler said it sends a message that Christians are supporting Israel.
“We want to do all we can to stand in solidarity with Israel during these difficult days,” he added.
Some 20 Christian legislators from around the world have likewise signed a statement calling on the international community to “condemn the perpetrators of violence, Hamas, who through their actions are limiting the possibility of a future of peace in the region.”
“We call on Hamas to immediately cease its barrage of rockets against Israeli civilians and to remove its operating bases from within Gaza neighborhoods and densely populated civilian areas, which disproportionately increases the death toll of civilians and endangers the lives of noncombatants,” the legislators wrote.
The parliamentarians, each the head of an Israel Allies Caucus in their country, represent Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Finland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Italy, Uruguay, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Suriname, Venezuela, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.