Israel Initiates Largest Eco-Tourism Project in Country's History

Israel has embarked on a dramatic eco-friendly initiative to transform the 2,000-acre Hiriya garbage dump on the outskirts of Tel Aviv into a park and 24-hour recreational hotspot known as Ayalon Park. The re-created acres will remain one of the world's largest metropolitan parks containing a vast number of trees, hiking and horseback riding trails, and tropical gardens.

The 230-foot Hiriya Mountain, a waste-mound located within the park's center, has been transformed into an eco-friendly attraction that includes 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 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," says Arie Sommer, commissioner of tourism, North and South America. "The park will be a hotspot for nature-seeking tourists and a 'front door' to Tel Aviv's amazing natural landscape."

"Friends of Ayalon Park," an independent non-profit public organization, has launched a brand new, interactive website in an effort to raise awareness of the park and encourage community involvement in its rehabilitation project. Visit www.ayalon-park.org.il or www.goisrael.com.

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