“Amigour continues to build shelters and protection in all of its areas around Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge,” says the CEO of Amigour, Yuval Frenkel in an interview held in the southern city of Ofakim. Amigour, a subsidiary of The Jewish Agency, is Israel’s leading sheltered housing company and second largest public housing group, with the majority of its residents elderly Holocaust survivors.
“During the war we continue to build bomb shelters in areas around Gaza…we are constantly working under fire. We continue to promote, as a subsidiary of The Jewish Agency, the construction of these bomb shelters in the Gaza periphery, ranging from 4-7 miles from the border. As a state project, a government budget of 270 million NIS has been invested here, alongside The Jewish Agency’s additional 44 million NIS which Executive Chairman Natan Sharansky raised personally.
“Additionally, we are almost fully protected in the city of Sderot, where Amigour built around 5,000 protected spaces as requested by the state. We are continuing on to construct an additional 1,000 shelters alongside Amigour.”
“The second aspect of our work is repairing damaged homes hit by missiles. We are able to proceed due to the residents’ paid property taxes.”
Amigour’s target population, senior citizens, has huge numbers throughout southern Israel, with over 2,260 Holocaust survivors and immigrants living in the “golden age” housing. Amigour provides this population with social care, and are on-site to complete construction on all shelters, as long as necessary. This includes establishing social activities and programming that take place while people are in the shelters, and caring for those left without food and medicine. Most of these people are in their eighties and nineties.
“So far the apartments have suffered from two direct hits in Sderot and in Netivot,” Frenkel says. “Luckily there were no human casualties…however the properties were damaged. Currently, I am working with the mayors of these cities and planning the construction of 200 new bomb shelters in those cities alone.”