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Bomb Shelters


Sub-standard bomb shelters – Who is responsible?

1. In this section we will review the responsibilities placed on the Local Authorities and private individuals with regard to public and private bomb shelters.
2. The Civil Defense Law – 1951 organizes obligations related to the maintenance of bomb shelters and specifies the authorities charged with enforcing the law.
3. Public shelters, which are the responsibility of the Local Authority, are distinguished from private shelters, which are owned by the tenant(s).


4. With respect to public bomb shelters, Regulation 3 of the Procedures for Civil Defense (Participation of Local Authorities) – 1955 specifies as follows:
"If there exists within the area of the Local Authority a public bomb shelter or public protective construction, or if any structure has been erected on land containing any installation or equipment that serves or is intended to serve the purpose of civilian protection, even if the stated installation or equipment is not owned by the Local Authority, the obligations specified in regulation 3 A shall devolve upon the Local Authority with respect to them."
5. Regulation 3 stipulates:
If the Local Authority or Union of Municipalities has any installation or equipment that serves or is intended to serve the purpose of civilian protection, the Local Authority or Union of Municipalities must:
1) Preserve the proper working condition of the equipment or installation and maintain it in that condition in such a way as to prevent harm to humans or damage to property.
2) …
3) Repair, at their own expense, any breakdown or damage to the equipment or installation.
6. Pikud Haoref (The Home Front Command) is authorized to instruct the Local Authority to maintain the public bomb shelters under the Authority's jurisdiction in such condition as to make possible their use at any time that need should arise, in accordance with Para.12 (A) (1) of the Civil Defense law.


7. With respect to private bomb shelters, whether in private homes or apartment buildings, the responsibility for maintaining the bomb shelters devolves upon the tenants, in accordance with Para. 1 A (a) of the Civil Defense Law – 1951.
"Tenants in a house and the owner of a factory must remove from the home and factory bomb shelter, respectively, any movable items contained therein, with the exception of such movable items as may legally be kept there, in accordance with the Civil Defense laws, to maintain the cleanliness of the shelter and to maintain it in such condition as to make possible its use at any time as a shelter in time of attack."
8. Those authorized to enforce this obligation with respect to the tenants are:
A. The Local Authority – authorized to instruct a landlord and the owner of a shelter, each with respect to his own shelter, to make any repair or change to enable use of the shelter at any time as a secure place in time of attack – Para. (1) of the Civil Defense Law.
The Local Authority is also authorized, in accordance with Para. 14 A (d) of the Civil Defense Law, to remove items from a shelter that have not been removed by those responsible for removing them (the tenants or the owner of the factory), after written notice has been given by municipal law enforcement agents who have been authorized to do so by the head of the Local Authority. The tenants have 15 days before the items may be removed.
B. Members of HAGA (Civil Defense Organization) – i.e. home front troops, who have been authorized to do so by the regional commander, are authorized to check private bomb shelters between 8 am and 8 pm, in accordance with Para. 9 (A) of the Civil Defense Law, if they have reason to suspect violation of the Civil Defense Law such as disregard of the obligation to maintain the shelter in proper operating condition at all times.
9. Supervision of the Local Authority with respect to the stated obligations is assigned to the Home Front Command that in accordance with Para. 12 (A) (2) of the Civil Defense Law is authorized to issue orders to any Local Authority, which are intended to:
"assure the good working order of the shelters and their proper maintenance by the owners,  or the owners of the factories, in accordance with the Civil Defense Law."
10. The Home Front Command is also authorized to order the Local Authority to assert its authority in accordance with Para. 14 (1) of the Civil Defense Law, namely to order the Local Authority to instruct the owner to make repairs and renovation of the shelter, in accordance with Para. 14 (12) of the law.
The Home Front Command is further authorized to implement with its own resources the work required of the tenants that they did not do themselves and was not done by the Local Authority – see Paras. 14 (12) and 20 of the law.


11. Failure to maintain the shelter properly, regardless of whether it is a public or a private shelter, is a violation of Para. 24 (B) of the Civil Defense Law.
An indictment for such a violation may be issued by the Attorney General or his representative, but not by the Military Advocate General.
12. Violation of Para. 14 (1) of the Civil Defense Law (the paragraph mandating repairs or renovation of a private shelter in order to make it serviceable as a secure space at all times, on the order of the Local Authority is defined in the Civil Defense Ordinance (violations punishable by fine) – 1976 as a violation punishable by fine.
13. The aforesaid ordinance also defines as a violation punishable by fine the use of a shelter for any purpose other than to provide shelter, without license to do so issued by the authority designated to approve deviations in use, in breach of Para. 15 (A) of the Civil Defense Law.
14. If a Local Authority has adopted the Municipal Assistance Law – 1975 (maintenance of shelters), failure to maintain the shelter properly also constitutes a violation of the municipal auxiliary law.
15. An indictment based on a violation of the municipal auxiliary law or a violation of Section 3 of the Civil Defense Law (the section dealing with bomb shelters) will be served by a municipal prosecutor.
16. The head of the Local Authority is authorized to order the issue of an indictment for violation of the Civil Defense Law, in accordance with Para. 225 (B) of the Penal Code (Combined Version) – 1982.
Para. 55 of the Courts Law – 1984 stipulates that the Court for Local Matters has been authorized to adjudicate violations of the statutes designated in the third addition to the law, which contains the Civil Defense Law.
17. Actions concerning criminal violations will be undertaken through application to the Local Authority and, where appropriate, to the police as well.


18. The obligation to maintain a shelter in order to make it serviceable as a secure space at all times in the event of attack devolves, with respect to public shelters, on the Local Authority, and with respect to private shelters, on the tenants.
Oversight with respect to the maintenance of private shelters is placed in the hands of the Local Authority, which is guided in this matter by the Home Front Command.
Responsibility for the maintenance of public shelters is placed in the hands of the Local Authority, which is guided in this matter by the Home Front Command.
Violations related to the maintenance of shelters are adjudicated in the Court for Local Matters and indictments are submitted by the State Attorney or by the Municipal Prosecutor.
19.These specifications clearly show that the Local Authority is responsible for assuring that privately owned objects that could hamper the use of a shelter in times of emergency are not stored in private shelters, and that it is the direct responsibility of the general public to insure that the shelters are maintained in proper condition, while this law applies to both public and private shelters alike.