Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund announced plans to commemorate
former prime minister Ariel Sharon by naming a 60-kilometer scenic trail in his
Aiming to perpetuate the memory of a man the organization
described as “an Israeli hero,” KKL-JNF said it would be naming the trail
“Derech Arik” – or “The Arik Trail” in English – at the behest of chairman Efi
Stenzler and cochairman Eli Aflalo. The trail is to run for about 60 kilometers
and cross through Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch, also winding near the graves of both
the prime minister and his wife Lily, according to KKL-JNF.
much loved open spaces and the green countryside, and he had a strong connection
to the land,” Aflalo said.
Recalling a meeting he had with Sharon in his
Jerusalem office, Aflalo described how the prime minister expressed his longing
for a little bit of green landscape or trees.
“Unfortunately for Sharon,
for security reasons he was isolated from what he loved. He only was able to
enjoy the trees and the free and wild nature when he was at Sycamore Ranch,”
Aflalo said. “From my acquaintance with Arik, I have no doubt that there is no
path and place more fitting to commemorate the intense relationship he had with
the land and with our beautiful country.”
In the coming days, the KKL-JNF
leaders are to bring their decision both to the organization’s management and to
other authorities that will work as partners in establishing the trail. The Arik
Trail will follow the channel of Nahal Shikma from the hills by Kibbutz Lahav to
Zikim Beach, located about one kilometer north of the Gaza Strip. Once complete,
KKL-JNF said, the trail will provide uniquely scenic views, and will also allow
for private vehicle travel.
KKL-JNF will establish the Arik Trail in
collaboration with the Shikma-Besor Drainage Authority, the Israel Nature and
Parks Authority and the surrounding regional councils.
“The scenic trail
that will be in the name of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, a military
leader and Israeli hero, will safeguard amazing sites and the history of the
people of Israel, and will reflect Arik Sharon’s great actions taken for and his
love of the green and beautiful State of Israel,” Stenzler said.