Israeli Bomb Shelters

Remember please, this is a General Question. Play nice.

On NPR just now, did a story about inequality of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. The story flatly stated ‘There are no public bomb shelters in Arab sections of Israeli cities outside of Haifa.’

Wow! If true, that is shocking. On the other hand, I cannot believe it to be true. Can our Israeli Dopers fill me in?

Bonus question, what is a bomb shelter ‘like?’

This seems way wrong, somehow. Seems to me that if I lived in the Arab section of some Israeli city, I’d dig myself a bomb shelter, and the authorities be damned.

Not even any PUBLIC bomb shelters? After the First Gulf War, I’d sure want one.

I can tell you that in Ramat Aviv, behind my flat, there was a public bomb shelter. It was a small, locked, concrete building (about the size of a larger toolshed, but lower) that presumably opened onto an underground space. I didn’t see any in predominantly Arab neighborhoods, but also didn’t see them around a lot in Jewish neighborhoods, either. I don’t know how many public vs private shelters there are in Israel.

In this article it says:

I imagine this may not apply to the “occupied territories”.

Here is another link detailing Israeli civil defense preparedness. EMERGENCY WAR CIVIL DEFENSE PROCEDURES IN ISRAEL

Here’s another interesting lpage on Israelu civil defense strategy

I’m pretty sure this isn’t true. If there are cases like that, it’s probably because Arab neighborhoods tend to be older and denser. Putting aside space and money for a shelter in a new neighborhood is easy, while installing one in an existing neighbourhood can be tricky from a legal, financial and beaurocatic standpoint, especially if it involves buying up property and tearing down buildings. This isn’t limited to Arabs - I live in an old (pre-WW2) Jewish neighborhood, and I haven’t seen any puplic shelters near my house (nor do I have one in my building - if things start going pear-shaped around here, we’re moving in with my inlaws. My FIL is a structural engineer, and he built himself a shelter that could shrug off bunker-busters).

As for Arab-majority towns and cities… you have to understand that building and maitaining bomb shelters is the responsability of the respective municipality. If, say, the Nazereth city council - elected to office by Arab voters - decides not to allocate funds to bomb shelter construction, then Nazereth won’t have bomb shelters. Not that anyone expected Nazereth to need bomb shelters.

All excellent answers, thank you all.

Although it occurs to me that if I were an Israeli Jew… how would I feel about letting an Arab into my bomb shelter?

He might be a suicide bomber, after all.

Maybe, but when the air-raid sirens start you don’t stop to ask for ID or check peoples’ bags.

What are the odds that a suicide bomber would be wandering the streets, fully armed, waiting for moissiles to fallm any way? Not very high, I’d think.

Low odds now, but it would be a brillian terror tactic: have a couple of suicide bombers run into shelters with a crowd when the alarm goes off. I imagine if people were scared to go into their public shelters, the economy would take quite a hit if a lot more people stayed home.

okay, let’s make things a little less dramatic :

Every residential building contructed in Israel since the 1960’s has a “bomb shelter” built into it.
In the rest of the world, this is simply known as a basement.

But it doesn’t sound quite as exciting if you phrase it that way.

paul, before you find it too “shocking”, it would help if you understood something about Israeli society. In most places, Arabs and Jews live in totally separate worlds. The countryside is dotted with Arab villages and towns, in which there is not a single Jewish resident.

In most of the larger cities, which were built after Israel became an independent country in 1948, people live in small apartments (condominuims, actually, since most are owned, not rented) in multi-story buildings. These buildings usually have a basement, which can be used as a shelter in time of war, but usually gets filled up with old bicycles and broken kitchen chairs :slight_smile: . The inhabitants are typical of the western world–a nuclear family of 2 parents and their kids, and usually Jewish.

Arab society is organized differently.In most of the Arab villages and towns, people do not live in apartments; they live in larger houses on private plots of land, not high-rise buildings. Extended families ( 3 or more generations ) typically live together under one roof. None of the neighbors are Jewish.
Technically, the building codes require that every building in these Arab areas also has to have a shelter. But this is rarely enforced.

Now, for all of Israel’s history, it has faced wars with Arab neighbors. But everyone agrees that the Arab towns and villages are not exactly the main target of the Arab armies that attacked in 1948, 1967, 1973, or the scud missiles attacks of 1991. So, you don’t have to be “shocked” that they have no bomb shelters. It just sort of worked out that way.

Okay, so what about the large cities and public shelters? Do arabs live in segregated (maybe not by law, but by custom) ghettos? If so, are there public shelters only in Jewish neighborhoods?

see post number 6 above.

Huh? What is “T&A City”? I can’t tell from that post anything more than it’s large enough to have areas the residents call neighborhoods, nor whether Arab and Jewish segregation is the norm. How big ARE “large” cities?

'Scuse me, I know next to nothing about Israeli culture or geography, other than being able to find it on a map. And that they don’t get along with their neighbors.

T&A City is Tel Aviv.

And/or, their neighbors don’t get along with them (viz., “Drive all Jews into the sea,” etc.).

My experience of living in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was that neighborhoods weren’t very mixed, similar to where I now live in the U.S., where there are distinct neighborhoods with particular socioeconomic and ethnic markers that let you know who mostly lives there. For example, stores with signs in Spanish.