In his introduction to Martin Weyl’s book Hiriya: On Stench and Beauty – The Greening of Israel's Largest Garbage Dump, Haim Guri wrote that during his visit to the site he was reminded “…of the alchemists who sought to transform base metal into gold. Here at the ‘Hiriya Dump,’ which is being transformed into a national park and a first-rate recycling operation before our very eyes, we saw how refuse and waste are made into life-giving products that conserve and protect our environment, and are creating a landscape of beauty for Israelis and tourists.”
On November 21, some 30 fellows from the Mandel Center for Leadership in the North's social leadership program and regional leadership program participated in a tour of the Hiriya refuse site and of the Ariel Sharon Park. The tour began with an introduction to refuse and recycling issues in Israel and around the world, and continued with a discussion of broader questions of society and sustainability. The group was then given a guided tour of the park, including a transfer station where waste from 24 local authorities in central Israel is gathered, a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plant that transforms waste into solid fuel for Israel's cement industry, and Hiriya – formerly a "garbage mountain," and now a green and blooming park.
The high point of the visit was a conversation with Dr. Martin Weyl, the visionary and the driving force behind Ariel Sharon Park, who spearheaded the transformation of a refuse site into a recycling and sustainability education center. Dr. Weyl encouraged the Mandel fellows to dream, and urged them not to be deterred by the difficulties and obstacles that face all those who seek to venture – and lead – beyond the pale of routine familiarity and custom.