Sparkling fireworks and a giant neon green hanukkia illuminated the valley that
connects a former garbage dump mountaintop and the city of Tel Aviv on Sunday
night – the second night of Hanukka.
There, at the enormous Ariel Sharon
Park, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister
Gilad Erdan arrived to celebrate and light candles, as well as honor the
transformation of the former trash site into a green oasis.
Prior to the
candle-lighting ceremony, participants enjoyed the fireworks and light show,
after which a group of elementary school boys sang Hanukka songs as guests
entered the mountaintop banquet hall awaiting the candle-lighting.
impressed by the magnificent work that is being done here and I think that the
citizens of Israel are gaining a green lung five minutes from Tel Aviv,”
Netanyahu said. “Suddenly there is a place to come with families, a place to
come out of the suffocating urban environment and see green, to see sky and to
The prime minister praised the work of the park’s
developers over the course of the past several years, likewise lauding other
work to keep the country green, such as in Kishon River Park and
Erdan praised Netanyahu for closing the Hiriya garbage dump
down to further trash disposal during his first government in 1998 and noted
that no resources went into developing the site during the governments that
“But in your second government, thankfully, there were
unprecedented investments of resources,” Erdan said.
At the end of
workdays, with oases like Ariel Sharon Park, people can now fill their lives
with and find inspiration in things like nature and scenery, he
“I think the government, our government, should be proud
because there was no government in the history of Israel that put so much into
protecting the environment and nurturing parks,” Erdan said.
to praising the environmental developments that have taken place over the past
several years in Israel, Netanyahu also stressed the importance of the country’s
fortitude and growth at large.
“On Hanukka, we mark the victory of the
heritage of Israel over our enemies, the victory of the few against the many,”
Netanyahu said. “Then, we stood against the greatest forces in the ancient
world, which wanted us to deny our heritage – and we defeated
“Today as well, we stand on our truth, on our heritage, and on our
rights in the Land of our Patriarchs against those who want to wipe us off our
land. They did not succeed then; they will not succeed now.”
In order to
ensure this success, the prime minister said that the nation “must stand
steadfast” and avoid conceding on vital interests simply “to win the applause of
the international community.”
Together with a group of soldiers who work
with the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, Netanyahu and Erdan lit the
hanukkia for the second night, after which the room erupted in a chorus of
holiday medleys as well as the national anthem.