“These shelters are the architecture of an existential threat – both real and perceived,” Reynolds said. “In them can be seen Israel’s resiliency as a nation, and its inability to come to terms with itself and with its neighbors in a volatile region.”
The shelters come in all shapes and sizes. Along with the more conventional below-ground bomb shelters, there are underground parking garages that can be converted into nuclear-proof bomb shelters and hospitals able to accommodate thousands. Entire schools are encased in reinforced concrete with blast-proof windows, and small, one-room “mamads” or “safe rooms” in private residences are meant to withstand rockets and unconventional weapons attack. Many of the bomb shelters have been re-purposed for broader uses like dance studios, community centers, pubs, mosques, and synagogues.