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PM, Erdan light Hanukka candles at former-dump
By SHARON UDASIN
10/12/2012
Netanyahu, Environment Minister take part in Hanukka celebrations at Ariel Sharon Park, formerly garbage mountain Hiriya.
 
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.

“I’m 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 see streams.”

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 Beersheba.

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 followed.

“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 continued.

“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.

In addition 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 them.

“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.
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