In eco-tourism, that is. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) has said it has embarked on “one of the world’s most dramatic ‘eco-friendly’ initiatives.”
That initiative is transforming the 2,000-acre Hiriya garbage dump on the outskirts of Tel Aviv into a magnificent park and 24-hour recreational hotspot. “Since Hiriya’s establishment decades ago, the ecological blight existed as an eyesore on the edge of Tel Aviv, complete with waste-eating pigeons and horrid stenches. Fast forward to 2008, the soon-to-be-completed ‘Ayalon Park’ will stand as one of the world’s largest metropolitan parks containing a vast number of trees, hiking and horseback riding trails, and tropical gardens,” the tourism ministry said in a release.
The 230-foot Hiriya Mountain, a waste-mound located within the park’s center, has been transformed into an eco-friendly attraction boasting an inner oasis of tilting terraces, ridge groves, shaded foot paths and a two-layered canopy with benches and tables for rest or picnics. Atop Hiriya Mountain, travelers will have panoramic views of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Recycling Center, which spans 75 acres, is located at the base of the “healed” mountain, and currently operates the most innovative technologies for recycling waste.
“The Ayalon Park rejuvenation project is a true indicator of Israel’s efforts to put itself on par with some of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world,” said Arie Sommer, IMOT’s North and South America’s commissioner of tourism. “The park will be a hotspot for nature-seeking tourists and a “front door” to Tel Aviv’s amazing natural landscape.”
According to IMOT, an independent non-profit public organization, called “Friends of Ayalon Park,” has launched a brand new, interactive website in an effort to raise awareness of the park and encourage community involvement in its rehabilitation project.