A group of children from the Gaza border area show off their Lego creations, 2018.
(photo credit: ARIEL SHRUSTER)
Thousands of children from the South and from Gaza border communities are visiting the Lego Park event in Holon this week, thanks to the support of MK Arye Deri (Shas).
According to a statement from the governmental Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, Deri, who serves as the ministry’s head, allocated NIS 2 million last week to support cultural events in Gaza border communities, including Sderot, which have been extremely affected by rocket attacks and violence from Hamas in recent months.
The first activity planned is a set of trips for thousands of children from the affected communities to Lego Park this week. Lego Park itself donated the tickets; the government allocation is covering transportation.
Deri, in a statement, said, “After a tense weekend in the South, I instructed the Ministry… to expedite and implement the government’s decision, so that the residents of the periphery can enjoy the days of truce [between Israel and Hamas] and cultural events… This is our duty to the residents of the periphery, especially children and youth, who are coping with a wave of terror in a way that provokes [our] appreciation.”
“I am happy that the first activity will take place [on Monday],” he added, “and [I] hope that the children and the families will enjoy it.”
The head of Lego Park, Michael Zimet, said in his own statement, “We are happy about the opportunity and ability to host children from the South and Gaza envelope, for an experience that will give them a respite from the difficult events that have become routine [for them].”
Ifat Ben Shoshan from Netiv Ha’asara in the northwestern Negev, who visited the park on Monday with her eleven- and seven-year-old sons told The Jerusalem Post
by phone that she was very happy about the ministry’s initiative, even though she wished that they didn’t need it.
“We’ve been in this situation for over three months,” she said regarding the tensions in the South. “We’re happy it didn’t become a war, but we can’t be sure this peace will continue all the time.
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“It’s good to bring children, in times like this, to other places. We’re happy that a place like Lego Park can take in so many children from the Gaza envelope,” she said of their visit to the event. “I saw how happy my children were to come there; I saw them forget the whole situation for three hours, and for me as a mother, it was very good for my heart that a place like Lego Park opened its gates and accepted our children with so much love.”
Ben Shoshan said her children loved the experience, and that they are big Lego fans, having been a part of a local Lego group for almost a year.
“The kids yelled with joy when we got there – that says everything… for them it was three hours where they forgot that they live in a region that is so tense right now,” she said.
Arye Deri was not the only politician who helped ‘build’ a day of fun for the children on Monday. Justice minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) visited the park on Monday to greet the children, posting a picture on Twitter with her Lego portrait. She said the only thing her portrait was missing was her smile.
Lego Park, which is being held in Toto Arena Holon until the end of August, is an official Lego Group-branded event and features Lego building areas, amusement rides, Lego brick art, and play areas.
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