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Landfill-Turned-Park to be Named For Still-Living Ariel Sharon

A new park around what was Israel’s largest garbage dump will be dedicated to still-living comatose ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Sunday.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 10/28/2007, 1:56 PM

A new park around Israel’s largest garbage dump will be dedicated to still-living comatose ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Sunday.

The Hiriya Landfill, located between Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv is a mountain of garbage that was used from 1952 until 1998. The government is now planning on transforming the site and the area around it into one of the largest parks in the country.The Hiriya site stretches out along 112 acres and the garbage mountain itself is elevated around 200 feet.

“The restoration project will transform Hiriya from a waste landfill into a flourishing, green park which will attract thousands of visitors each year, providing leisure and recreational opportunities as well as pleasant walks along its paths,” organizers say.

“Today is the opening shot in the building of this incredible park,” said Danny Shternberg of the Ayalon Park Government Company. “We are proud to name it for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was an enthusiastic backer of the idea, advancing the park himself.” Shternberg declined to comment on the unorthodox nature of deciding to name a park after someone who is still living.

Aerial view of the mountain of garbage that will be transformed into the first stage of the park.

The park will contain within it sheltered areas (such as the Menachem Begin Park), open areas, forested regions, agricultural tracts and man-made lakes and streams.

Archeological sites will also be refurbished and put on display. The ancient city of B'nei Brak, spoken of in the Passover Haggadah, lay at the site and an Arab village named Hiriya was built atop its ruins until its residents fled in 1948. Emergency plans when Israel feared an Arab victory in the 1967 Six Day War called for mass graves to be dug in the area for the expected Jewish casualties.

The master plan for the Ariel Sharon Park

At the heart of the park, Shternberg says, will be the refurbished Hiriya landfill. Once a symbol of Tel Aviv’s grimy underbelly, “it will now become a green area open to the public and symbolize the potential of recycling.” A huge recycling facility operates at the site today. Click here to read more about the ongoing efforts.

The landfill’s various environmental hazards, such as the emission of bio-gas produced at the landfill and the leaching of waste into groundwater and rivers, are to be addressed in the design of the park. “The planning of the landfill restoration is intended to cause a reduction in the emission of pollutants and to prevent environmental dangers,” builders say. “The Hiriya landfill restoration will be, in any event, the first stage of the Ayalon Park Project, planned to be the largest park in the Dan Region and in the State of Israel.”

The project will cost an estimated $250 million.