I grew up in Haifa, then Israel's main port town. I love the Mediterranean Sea and I love to swim in it. During the summer I frequented a private beach close to my home, which was called 'The Calm Beach' (In Hebrew Ha'chof Ha'shaket). Calm, because the port's wave breakers created a section of the sea inlet with hardly any waves and thus safe for swimming. Adjacent to this beach was and is Rambam hospital, already then the largest hospital to serve Israel's north.
The mamad is a protected space, kind of shelter built into the building's shell whose occupants it is intended to serve. Due to the Scud missiles attacks on Israel, during the Gulf War, Israel decided on the construction of mamad-shelter in all new constructions. The purpose of the protected space-mamad-is to provide protection against air and rocket attacks when the warning time frame is too short to allow reaching the shelter. Access to a shelter located on each floor where people reside, or even within the apartment itself, significantly reduces the time to reach it. Likewise, making the shelter-mamad part of a residence or the floor space raises the level of its maintenance standard. The protected space-mamad is designed to protect its user from attack of bombs containing shredding explosives. It is also sealed to poison gas from entering and thus provides partial unconventional attack protection. In the protected space-mamad it is possible to install air filters in case there is a need to stay inside it for a long time, or when there is a biological, chemical, or radioactive assault. In time of need Rambam Hospital will become a huge protected space-mamad, a fortified underground hospital that will bring uninterrupted medical care to northern Israel.
In 2006, during the Second Lebanon War Israel learned one other most important lesson, which brought about the Underground Act, to turn Rambam Hospital into a regional hospital serving the entire Israel's north and twelve other hospitals. Due to the country's need for a fortified emergency room to protect the military, civilians, staff, patients and casualties in time of an attack or a war, for seventy two hours the Rambam hospital will act as self contained medical center bomb shelter.
The Rambam medical center is partially built on wave breakers. The underground hospital, called the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital, now acting as subterranean garage is three storey level deep and its conditions resemble submarine conditions. During its constructions the workers had to seal it off in order to pump out the water under which the construction is submerged. It has been completed and will be in operation in a short while. Above it there are four new buildings coming up: the Ruth Rappaport Children's hospital, at its final completion stage, due to open in May 2014, and the Joseph Fishman Oncology Center, due to open in December 2014; the Cardiovascular Hospital and the Biomedical Discovery Tower buildings still lack the funds to bring them to completion.
In time of need, your contribution will make life in Israel safe in the basement.