Sharon's Legacy

The area in which the ILA carried out the enforcement activity last night is part of Ariel Sharon Park, which is slated to be one of the largest parks in Israel. It will cover about 8,000 dunams (some 2,000 acres), including the Mikveh Yisrael agricultural school, Begin Park ("Park Darom") and the Hiriya landfill. The government approved construction three and a half years ago, when Ariel Sharon was serving as prime minister, and therefore it was decided to name the park after him.

The park lands are now being administered by a government corporation established especially for this purpose, one of whose goals is to take control over lands presently in the hands of agricultural leasers and various groups. The ILA recently began mapping the lands' ownership, and is supposed to help to transfer the area to the corporation that administers the park.

There are already problems of illegal construction and land takeovers in the designated area, but most of them are concentrated in the residential neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv bordering the park, where illegal construction is ongoing. The Hiriya compound is supposed to undergo an overall restoration, and the mountain of trash itself - which has not been used as a dump for the past 11 years - will become a visitors' center. At its foot will be a large recycling complex whose construction has already begun.