Before it was called Ariel Sharon Park, the site was known as Hiriya, from the name of the Arab village that used to sit here. As a young platoon commander in 1948, Ariel Sharon was involved in the military operations that claimed the land for Israel. And although the word Hiriya in Hebrew is uncomfortably close to a slang term for feces—"go to Hiriya" is a common insult—the site is quickly shedding its negative connotations. Ariel Sharon himself has also been known by other names, including The Bulldozer. It's now beginning to seem possible that his most enduring legacy won't be razing Arab villages but building one of the world's largest and most peaceful urban oases.
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