In Brief: Israel ramps up bomb shelter construction against Hezbollah threat

Hezbollah fighters at a ceremony > Ali Khamenei, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Israel’s defence ministry announced on Tuesday that it had begun reinforcement work on dozens of homes in Israeli communities close to the Lebanese border.

The homes are those that are most likely to be hit by rocket fire in a future conflict with the Hezbollah terror group.

The effort, dubbed Shield of the North, officially began in October when the ministry began installing new bomb shelters in the community of Kfar Yuval, site of a 1975 hostage crisis.

In the coming months, dozens of bomb shelters will be built in homes in the northern town of Shlomi.

Many of these homes were built in the 1970s without reinforced rooms, the ministry said.

Publishing a tender for the construction of 110 bomb shelters in Misgav Am, the ministry said it was in the “architectural planning phase” of bomb shelters in 12 other locales, totalling some 1,000 homes.

The reinforcement plan came after years of promises to improve the shelters for northern communities, which have regularly been found to be inadequate.

A 2020 state comptroller report found that nearly 30 percent of Israeli citizens do not have access to functioning bomb shelters near their homes, including over a quarter of a million people who live near the borders with Lebanon or the Gaza Strip.