Jane VaynmanOn sale now: Israeli bomb shelters

There are all kinds of elaborate rumors that during the Cold War, Russia built networks of shelters and tunnels underneath Moscow.

Israel seems to still be working on its state of the art underground bunker and apparently theirs is not so secret. The Jerusalem Post notes that the underground shelter, for use by government officials in case of nuclear or conventional attack, was approved a decade ago (not in response to Iran). The bunker will have a tunnel leading to the city outskirts, emerging “at Emek Ha’Arazim outside Mevaseret Zion near the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road.” I feel this detail defeats the purpose of super-secret escape route, but ok.

Actually, if you are a wealthy Israeli, you too can have your very own deluxe bomb shelter:

The shelters, which cost at least £60,000 for a bargain-basement version, are built to withstand radioactive fallout, have fortified walls and doors and generate their own electricity and decontaminated air. Defence experts estimate that hundreds of such bunkers, many fitted with all modern conveniences such as bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, have already been built in private homes across the country and demand is soaring.

Will bunkers be the season’s top luxury Hanukah gift? Better book in advance!

This photo collection is about a year old, so new models may now be available, but you can get an idea for some of the options.

According to an anonymous security official, however, Israeli citizens should not be afraid:

“We are aware of all these panicky people building atomic shelters. They’re wasting their money,” one security source told the paper. “Israel will not allow Iran to build an atomic bomb, and even if it did, the Iranians know very well that we’ll bomb them back to the Stone Age, before they’ve launched a single missile.”


  1. SQ

    The Moscow subway system itself is a pretty impressive series of deeply buried tunnels.

    The rise of nuclear bunkers in Israel shouldn’t shock us. Israeli building codes already mandate “safe rooms” for CBW defense, and between 1991 and 2006, most Israelis have memories of coming under missile attack.

  2. Lakshmi Krishnan (History)

    What about the shelters China built?

  3. John Smith

    As a matter of fact, Khruschev apparently ordered bomb shelters to be constructed for the entire population of Moscow and Russians tell me that these are now popular as store rooms with the underworld.As far as the “anonymous statement” goes, Israelis should be afraid. The reason is that the IDF is not considering a bombing campaign, rather a nuclear attack on Iran. It may appear that I am not in a position to state this with any confidence, but I know a lot of people in the IDF and they are pretty unanimous in saying two things: a) the IAF doesn’t stand a chance of stopping Iran’s nuclear programme b) Iran will be “destroyed” if it doesn’t stop that programme.

  4. Haninah

    Wow, that story’s pretty creepy for anyone who knows Jewish biblical mythology: according to the story, the last King of Judea had a tunnel hidden under his palace leading out to the desert. When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians at the end of a long siege, the king tried to escape through his tunnel, but was caught by a Babylonian general who was out hunting a deer that happened to run past the entrance to the tunnel just as the king emerged.The good news is, thanks to the foresight of Israel’s environmental policy-makers, wild deer are now extinct in most of Israel, so we’re not going to see a repeat of that little fiasco. Whew.

  5. Bill Robinson

    The US intelligence community is one of the purveyors of those rumours about the Moscow system. More info here: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php?Number=152762