Since its creation in 1948, the State of Israel has felt itself isolated and beset by enemies seeking its destruction. This collective siege mentality is best expressed in the ubiquity of the thousands of bomb shelters found throughout the country. By law all Israelis are required to have access to a bomb shelter and rooms that can be sealed off in case of an unconventional weapons attack. There are over 10,000 public and private bomb shelters found throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories.
The photographs in this series document these bomb shelters and offer a window into the collective mindset of the Israeli people. Israelis have normalized this “doomsday space” into their daily lives, often using the shelters as dance studios, community centers, pubs, and places of worship. For Jewish Israelis haunted by a history of exile and persecution, these shelters are the architecture of an existential threat.
School bomb shelter, Ashkelon.
Donor plaques at the entrance of the L'Chaim Holocaust Survivors Group Center/public bomb shelter, Jerusalem.
Conference room/bomb shelter at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem.
Mosque/bomb shelter at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Public bomb shelter at Ein Zivan, along the border with Syria in the occupied Golan Heights.
Student rec room/bomb shelter, University of Haifa.
Public bomb shelter beneath apartment complex, Jerusalem.
Public bomb shelter, Haifa.
Reinforced 'safe area' conference room in the Knesset, Jerusalem.
Youth activity center/ bomb shelter, Na'ale settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Home cosmetics studio inside of a 'mamad' safe-room, Gedera.
Youth activity center/public bomb shelter, Kiryat Shmona.
Pub/bomb shelter, Kibbutz Kfar Aza.
Employee bomb shelter inside the Tel Hai Industrial Park.
A portrait of Baba Sali, an influential Moroccan rabbi, hangs at the entrance of a Sephardic Synagogue and Beit Midrash/bomb shelter, Eilat.
Bomb shelter inside of a primary school in the Druze village of Hurfeish in the Galilee.
Main train station in Sderot, built to withstand incoming rocket fire from Gaza.
Abandoned Israeli military bunker outside of Jericho in the occupied West Bank.
Door inside the municipal bomb shelter, Haifa.
Large concrete drainage tube repurposed as an ad hoc bomb shelter, Nitzan.