Volkswagen Contributes to the Fight Against Forest Fires

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:00 PM

“We are Proud to Help Protect Human Life and Forests”

A new fire truck donated by Volkswagen was inaugurated at the Bible Lands Museum, in Jerusalem, on Monday June 17. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the KKL-JNF World Leadership Conference, at a ceremony attended by Speaker of the Knesset MK Yuli Edelstein, KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler and Prof. Jochem Heizmann, Volkswagen Vice President and President of the Volkswagen Group in China.

L-R: Eli Aflalo, Beni Bloch, Efi Stenzler, MK Yuli Edelstein and Prof. Jochem Heizmann unveil the
Volkswagen recognition sign on the donated firetruck. Photo: Yoav Devir

“When one saves a single life, it is as though an entire world has been saved,” said Benjamin Bloch, President of KKL-JNF Germany, as he opened the ceremony. “I am sure the vehicle you have provided us will help us save lives, although I hope it will not be necessary.”

Speaker of the Knesset MK Yuli Edelstein greeted the audience and said, “Israeli summers are very dangerous for forests, and we have experienced more than a few disasters in recent years, including fires in the Jerusalem Forest, not far from where we are right now. With your help, we can ensure that there will be fewer disasters.”

In order to emphasize how important the issue is, he told the audience that as they were conducting this ceremony, there was a vote being conducted in the Knesset for the State budget. “I hope all the Knesset members are behaving properly, even though I am not there at the moment,” said Edelstein with a big smile.

“We are still suffering from the trauma of the Carmel fire that broke out about two years ago,” said KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler, “but the truth is that there have been thousands of wildfires since then.” He noted that many of these fires are caused by arson and said that experience has shown that a swift response by a well equipped fire truck can reduce damage and save human life. “Thanks to Volkswagen, we now have greater fire suppression capability,” he said, “and this is yet another link in the chain of our cooperation with Germany, which includes the Beit Eshel site, the German States Forest in the Negev, and many other beautiful projects.”

Testing out the firehose with the remote control.

Photos: Yoav Devir

“The Volkswagen Company has always had a special relationship with Israel,” said Prof. Jochem Heizmann, Volkswagen Vice President and President of the Volkswagen Group in China, “and cooperation with Israel gives us a lot of strength.” He emphasized that environmental protection is a priority of the company and expressed his happiness for the opportunity to support a green organization like KKL-JNF.

“We feel privileged to be doing our part in protecting a precious forested area,” said Heizmann, “and I wish this fire truck would not be necessary, but we all know this is not possible, and I have heard that it has already been used. We hope the technology we have placed at your service will assist in protecting lives and wildlands.” He concluded by saying, in Hebrew, “I wish KKL-JNF and the State of Israel peace.”

The ceremony was emceed by Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol, who said how much this fire truck was awaited in Israel. After the unveiling of the plaque affixed on the fire truck in recognition of the donors, Prof. Heizmann tested the water hose using the remote control, in order to demonstrate the advanced technology.

Photo Gallery: Click on each thumbnail for the full image.