During the First Gulf War, the period of time between the alert and the missile fall left only a short time in which to take cover, and a need arose to bring the protected space nearer to the users. As a result, in 1992 Israel formed a new defense policy, focusing on Mamads (Apartment Protected Spaces) in every apartment and floor in new buildings.
The concrete shelters, which had dominated large parts of the public spaces in the past and were often used for community activities in times of quiet, disappeared from the new neighborhoods and were replaced by these Mamads
Shelly Cohen and Tula Amir argue that the transition to private protected spaces actually shifted the responsibility for civilian defense from the governmental authorities to private hands. In the past, the authorities had allocated public spaces for neighborhood shelters, and had funded their building and maintenance. Gradually, civilian defense was shifted to a semi-private territory – a shelter that was built on the joined property of apartment buildings, still later to protected spaces on every floor in the building, and finally – to the private space, inside the apartment itself.
Critical voices from the defense profession contend that Mamads in new apartment houses provide excessive protection against the current threats.
If so, why was the Mamad chosen? Is this solution a manifestation of the domination of the military thinking, which encourages excessive protection, or a manifestation of a cautious policy?
In favor of the Mamad it can be said that in an ongoing emergency situation, it enables the integration of defense in the life routine, since it is useful and easy to maintain. However, it appears that its financial advantage for contractors is what made it an all-embracing solution: its size is not calculated as a principal living area but rather as a service area, thus excluding it from the calculation of various taxes while increasing the size of the apartment. Here, the policy setters have integrated security considerations with the market forces. The instruction to shorten the time of reaching a sheltered space dictated that such a space be integrated into every apartment, and this creates a dramatic change in apartment houses.
It is a tremendous military involvement in civilian building, made through a financial incentive, and thus evidence of the army’s successful acclimation in the market economy that has prevailed in Israel in the past decades.
In: Shelly Cohen and Tulla Amir (eds.), Living Forms: Architecture and Society in Israel (Tel Aviv: Xargol and Am Oved, 2007), pp. 127-144, [Hebrew].