LEGO donates toys to Sderot pre-school
Danish ambassador attends ceremony at fortified, WIZO-affiliated school in rocket-plagued town, extends hopes for peace and quiet for the children
Denmark's ambassador to Israel, Liselotte Plesner, visited Sderot on Tuesday to take part in a celebration – held in a fortified pre-school – to honor a generous contribution by the LEGO group to WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) pre-schools.
The LEGO group contributed two large containers holding a thousand boxes of 'duplos' – large-sized Lego blocks. The Danish toys will be distributed among 170 WIZO pre-schools across Israel and particularly to the 35 pre-schools located in southern communities, where residents are still suffering from rocket-fire.
The Danish ambassador surprised participants by delivering a speech to the children and pre-school employees in Hebrew. In her speech, she referred to the trauma to children in the rocket-plagued region, saying "the children who live under the threat of Qassams need to be able to escape to a world of magic and creativity – something that can be done with Legos."
Plesner related that she had played with Legos as a child. She also remarked on the characteristics of creativity and innovation seen in Israel and Denmark, noting the outstanding achievements of Israeli hi-tech, among them Modu CEO Dov Moran's cellular telephone developments and Shai Agassi's electric car project, which is being undertaken in collaboration with Denmark.
Sderot Deputy Mayor Michael Amsalam attended the event, as did Chairperson of World WIZO Tovah Ben Dov and World WIZO President Helena Glaser. During the ceremony, Amsalam and Plesner placed the final building blocks in large Lego structures spelling out the word 'peace' in Hebrew and English.
"We and the children just want peace. I hope that in the future there will be quiet, both for our children and for those on the other side," Amsalam said, asking her to pass on the message to her government and people.
Tova Ben Dov thanked the ambassador for coming to the pre-school in Sderot, "despite the fact that it is still under Qassam threat" and added that "the ambassador's willingness to come to Sderot indicates her empathy for the trauma of the children here."
"The fact that she is willing to come to Sderot at a time when many in the world are condemning Israel means a lot to us," echoed Glaser, adding how nice it was to see a young woman in the Danish ambassador's post.
The contribution from the LEGO group was granted thanks in large parts to the efforts of Warner Bechman, a Jew of Danish descent and an ardent supporter of WIZO, who saw the struggles of children in the Gaza vicinity in recent years, particularly during Operation Cast Lead in December and January.
Bechman said during the ceremony that he had appealed to the Danish toy company after he discovered that LEGO had donated toys to children in Ramallah.