As the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) season is approaching, a PA resident and his Saudi partner invented a smart parasol that would help relieve the hardships modern-day pilgrims experience as they go about fulfilling their religious duty — visiting Mecca at least once in their life time.
The parasol is powered by several solar panels (plenty of sunshine in Mecca) that feed a GPS system, a fan, a lamp, and three USB outlets for mobile phone chargers and a computer tablet.
Inventor Manal Dandis, from Hebron, told Aliqtisadi.ps his smart parasol will help the pilgrims to meet basic performance requirements during the Hajj season, especially alleviating the sweltering heat and allowing the pilgrims to access official announcements as well as call home.
“The parasol converts solar energy collected by the solar cells on the surface, and runs a fan to cool the heat, increasing the pilgrims’ stamina and avoiding the risk of sun strokes,” Dandis said.
He explained that these smart parasols will help pilgrims not get lost, and any family participating in the pilgrimage will be able to trace all of its members by networking their parasols, so no one disappears in the madding crowd as so often happens in Mecca.
Dandis said the GPS system, plus the smart phone, can be installed on the parasol and immediately create communication networks for related pilgrims, “making it easy to communicate in between pilgrims and to determine their whereabouts and how to reach them.”
Dandis has obtained a patent for his idea and is looking for an international company or a government agency to launch commercial production of the parasols at a cost the pilgrims could afford.
On Wednesday, Christian Today reported that Mohammad El Halabi, an employee of World Vision (WV), the world’s largest evangelical Christian charity, had been detained on June 15 at the Erez crossing “on his way home from routine meetings” and was being held “without access to legal counsel or family visits,” which is normal fare in Israel with regards to security prisoners.
Last Friday, when El Halabi’s detention had been extended until August Tuesday, Aug. 2, WV’s eastern Jerusalem office released a statement saying, “World Vision stands by Mohammad who is a widely respected and well-regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.”
It should be interesting to see the charity’s response to the charges submitted against El Halabi by the Southern District Prosecution in Beer Sheva District Court Thursday, describing him as Hamas activist who has been using his high position in the charity organization to systematically divert millions of dollars to the military arm of Hamas, financing, among other things, the digging of terror tunnels. The monies, according to Thursday’s indictment, was taken out of funds and resources that had been dedicated to humanitarian assistance to Gaza Strip residents. The indictment includes 12 counts of security violations of passing information to the enemy, membership in a terror organization, funding terrorism, participation in an unlawful association, and contact with foreign agents.
The facts included in the indictment describe El Halabi as having a master’s degree in engineering. A member of Hamas since 1995, in 2004 he joined the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. In 2005 he was hired by WV to carry out administrative assignments at the charity’s Gaza branch. His job provided him with an entry permit into Israel. El Halabi exploited his visits to Israel to locate and mark [via GPS] sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels.
Carrying out his assignments, according to the prosecution, El Halabi usurped millions of dollars in donations that arrived from foreign countries such as the US, Australia, Germany and the UK, and were slated for humanitarian needs, agricultural, education, and psychological support.
According to El Halabi, the humanitarian aid donated for the residents of the Gaza Strip was in actual fact given almost exclusively to Hamas terrorists and their families. Non-Hamas members almost never received any benefit from the aid, despite their relative level of need. Needless to say, this is in contradiction to the accepted practice of the humanitarian aid organizations. Every month, El Halabi distributed thousands of packages of food, basic commodities and medical supplies to Hamas terrorists and their families, commodities that World Vision had intended to go to the needy.
Over his many years working for WV, El Halabi transferred to Hamas’s possession thousands of tons of iron rods, digging equipment and plastic hoses, originally intended for agricultural use but in reality utilized by the Hamas tunnel builders and for building military bases such as the “Palestine” military base which was built in 2015 entirely from British aid money. Some of the money went to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists and, in some cases, senior Hamas terrorists took large sums of money for their own personal use. During the war of 2014, Hamas terrorists received WV food packages to sustain them above and below ground, including in terror tunnels.
El Halabi also provided plastic sheets bearing the WV emblem to cover the openings of tunnels, making them look like agricultural hothouses.
According to the indictment, around the year 2012, El Halabi was engaged by Hamas to initiate a greenhouse project, to use greenhouses to hide the sites where terror tunnels were being dug. In addition, a project for the rehabilitation of (fictitious) fishermen was actually used to provide motor boats and diving suits for Hamas’s military marine unit.
The Shabak investigation revealed that the main method El Halabi used to divert money to Hamas was to put out fictitious tenders for WV-sponsored projects in the Gaza Strip. The “winning” company was simply informed that 60% of the project’s funds were to be designated for Hamas.
El Halabi told his interrogators that a regular method of acquiring equipment for Hamas was to disguise Hamas warehouses as WV warehouses. Trucks bringing supplies to the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would then unload their goods at Hamas warehouses instead of legitimate WV warehouses. Hamas operatives would pick up the supplies in the dead of night.
According to Shabak, the El Halabi investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in the Gaza Strip who exploited their work for humanitarian aid organizations and UN institutions, on behalf of Hamas. El Halabi’s statements portray a troubling picture in which UN institutions in Gaza are in fact controlled by Hamas.
How the Money Was Transferred to Hamas
Some of the money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas terrorists, by fraudulently listing their children as wounded.
Money designated for psychological support, education and health in Gaza ($2 million/year) was used to pay the families of Hamas terrorists.
Part of the WV donations was transferred in cash and recorded fraudulently as aid to needy children.
Monies were paid out as salaries to Hamas terrorists and activists, who were registered as employees of the aid organization when in fact they never worked for WV.
Costs for legitimate infrastructure projects were inflated, with the difference going to Hamas.
Straw companies — two farmers’ associations and a fake charity for the benefit of the injured — were established with false registers to launder money.
Unemployment payments were diverted to Hamas terrorists. El Halabi arranged for one-third of the allowances WV transfers to Gaza for the unemployed to go to members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The terrorists received a larger allowance ($392 instead of $300).
Using lists of fictitious beneficiaries, $2 million a year were designated as aid for farmers and diverted to Hamas activists. El Halabi reported a larger sum than what was actually transferred to the farmers to World Vision. The difference was diverted to Hamas.
Project costs were inflated. For example, WV invested in the construction of 500 greenhouses and the preparation of land (495 acres) for agriculture. El Halabi reported to the charity that the cost was $1,000 per quarter acre, while the real cost was $700. The difference – $300 per quarter acre – was transferred to Hamas.
In their 2014 report titled “Filling in the Blanks — Documenting Missing Dimensions in UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict,” NGO Monitor and UN Watch have cautioned: “The willingness of World Vision workers to openly discuss these issues is exceptional; however, the answers leave little doubt as to World Vision’s willingness to negotiate and coordinate with armed groups. This raises questions as to whether the group would prevent components of its aid from being misappropriated by terrorist organizations, if it felt that taking a stand would jeopardize the organization’s ability to continue its operations in a given area.”
It’s an uncomfortable question. But five Jewish souls were allowed to remain in this world thanks to one Palestinian Arab who put his own life on the line for them. Who will now protect that man when terrorists target him as a collaborator with Israel??
Five yeshiva students who came as tourists to Israel last week nearly lost their lives because they took a wrong turn while driving to the Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpela) in Hebron, courtesy of a innocent misdirection from the WAZE GPS software. When the group entered the ancient Biblical city, they became lost in the winding narrow streets and accidentally entered the Arab area. This nearly cost them their lives, as a mob of Palestinian Arabs instantly swarmed around their car and began to beat them. Two were already injured and one was bleeding from his face.
They were pulled to safety by 51-year-old Faiz Abu Hamadya, who saved them from being lynched. The video in this article (below) shows how Israeli security forces eventually extracted the tourists from Abu Hamadya’s home, and what it took to bring them to safety.
Not one thing they had with them remained intact – the car was incinerated, their tefillin (phylacteries) were snatched and burst apart, the sacred parchments inside torn and stomped on the ground. Holy books were ripped apart, their pages scattered to the wind or fed to the flames rising from their vehicle. All their belongings were completely destroyed.
But the five yeshiva students were safe – two were injured from the beatings and one was bleeding – but all were alive, thanks to Faiz Abu Hamadya.
“In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”Rabbi Hillel
In rescuing the five young men Abu Hamadya fulfilled numerous Torah mitzvot though he was obligated to none. More to the point, he put his own life in jeopardy both then and now as well. This is because in saving a Jew he labeled himself as a collaborator with Israel. This automatically makes him a target for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organizations who both operative active branches in Hebron.
Nor was it simple operation for the IDF soldiers and Border Guard Police officers who were forced to enter the neighborhood in order to extract the tourists from Abu Hamadya’s home.
Israeli security forces had to work fast, before all the Palestinian Authority-based terror groups could get organized to surround the five U.S. nationals holed up in their territory. And they still had to pull them out past the hostile Arabs waiting to tear them apart, just as dusk was settling in.
The soldiers begin taking them out, and special ops Border Guard Police arrive to say they will take them up to a van they have parked just above on the ridge behind the house. They will have to climb a short rise in the back, but it will be safer than taking them through the street. An ambulance is waiting, parked parallel next to the police van, where two of the young men will briefly treated and then taken to a hospital for care. The other three will be evacuated in the van.
Things move quickly, with both IDF and Border Guard Police officers protecting the tourists, their rescuer, and each other. Periodically they aim their weapons directly at those watching, and then change targets. They don’t relax their guard for one moment.
This week’s show kicks off with Malkah andYishai’s take on Facebook’s purchase of Israeli social media GPS hit WAZE and their battle over WAZE insistence their HQ remain in Israel. Should Waze stay in Israel, is that a value? Is Jewish nationalism a value in the globalized world? Plus, an update on the Fleisher family adventures in Jerusalem as Malkah deals with Yishai’s expanded overseas speaking schedule.
I sit here mulling over the results of my latest PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography), a nuclear medicine imaging technique which produces a three-dimensional image or picture (in color) of my innards and of the latest actions of the “bad buggars” that have invaded me (as I live through quite a serious case of cancer).
The interesting thing I am noticing in my mind/body reactions is that I am pretty calm and thinking of both the GPS and Sukkot.
The GPS (Global Positioning System) was developed in 1973 and is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges, GPS but you do need some kind of gizmo to get it to work. Its commercial iteration is available for purchase for your car or even to walk around with and can help you find an address when you are lost.
Basically it takes your position and searches for the address you load into it and gives you visual or oral guided directions on how to get there.
I can’t seem to find the author (it may be ChaCha) of these lyrics to the GPS song on Google but I am quoting them:
“I’m driving down a road that I don’t know. I need some help along the way. I can’t see the street signs. Which way do I turn? Then I hear a familiar voice say: ‘Recalculating.’ Where am I and how do I find my way out? Make a U Turn – at the very next intersection.”
While these lyrics are bouncing around my head, I am thinking of Bnai Yisrael not long out of Egypt walking with the help of Clouds of Honor (Ananai HaKavod) directing them and protecting them. It is only generations later when they arrive in Israel (according to the Rambam, Maimonides) that they are told that now that they are home, they have to leave their houses and move into a temporary booth, sukkah, for the week of Tabernacles.
My mind wanders and wonders what Hashem was trying to teach us and alights on kind of weird idea. There is an important lesson here: to keep our internal GPS in tune with our surroundings. There is no better way to appreciate and re-think about where we are and where we are going, if not by stepping back from a place of comfort, in this case our home, and move out to a temporary dwelling.
I am frequently asked how I’ve managed to keep a somewhat even keel during this turbulent period of my life; I say the GPS helps me. This is usually received with a somewhat odd look. I will explain with a personal story.
When the GPS in cars first came out my husband and I had just rented a car at LAX (Los Angeles) and as an introduction Hertz provided one such gizmo free of charge. I sat in the parking lot reading the instructions as my husband loaded our luggage into the car. When he got in I asked him if he wanted a woman’s voice giving directions or a man’s voice.
This turned into a psychological discussion about dealing with authority figures in an area where one feels super qualified. He finally decided, with a twinkle in his eye, that a woman was appropriate as he was used to taking “orders” from a woman. “Oh”, I said with a twinkle in my eye, “for example your mother.” In any case the gender of the voice was easily changeable if he thought differently about it as we drove to our destination.
I should add that we had lived in Los Angeles for over three years and been back many times a year since we left, so we knew short-cuts.
We began with the not-unpleasant female voice saying “take a right” and so forth. There was an area which we were familiar with and did not listen to her as we knew a short-cut. She – the voice on the GPS – began to get somewhat hysterical, telling us to “make a right NOW!!” We didn’t and there was a moment of silence and then she. said: “Re-calculating,” and began to give directions from our new location.
Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” – the column where people blindside me with questions, and I have to answer them, even though, oftentimes, answering questions only leads to more questions. Especially the way I do it.
This month, in honor of the summer, we’re going to answer some questions about travel. It’s important to go on vacation once in a while, so you have some relaxation, unless you count the stress of getting ahead on your work before vacation, catching up on your work after vacation, and driving long distances with your kids having border disputes in the back seat.
I haven’t flown in a while, but I heard they changed the size regulations for carry-on luggage. What should I do? Buy a whole new set of luggage that is one inch smaller?
Nervous Flier Far Rockaway
You might be able to get away with your bigger suitcase, as long as they give you a smaller plane. The last time I flew, I bought a new suitcase, because the one I had was a half inch wider than regulation, and I’d heard that the airlines are very strict about these things. Like if your suitcase is too big, it’s going to be hanging out the back of the plane.
But then I got to the airport, and it turns out the plane I was taking was very small. Okay, so it wasn’t that small. It’s not like it was just me and the pilot, wearing goggles and scarves and yelling to each other over the motor. But I was able to stand up in the aisle and reach both sides of the plane. Until the flight attendants asked me to stop.
But my point is that because the plane was so small, no one’s carry-on could really fit in the overhead bins, so the flight crew didn’t bother measuring anything – they just told us they’d put it under the plane, for free. So the half inch would not have mattered.
So my advice is to request it. Just say, “Hi, could you please get me on a small plane, so I can put my carry-on go underneath the plane, instead of right over my head?” Those should be your exact words. If you do that, the size of your suitcase won’t be a problem, because chances are airport security is going to take it out into a field and detonate it, just in case.
But if you find out that your plane is bigger and that they are measuring luggage, you can always buy something smaller from the airport’s luggage store for 400 dollars.
Because really, for what other reason could there be to put luggage stores in an airport? Is anyone coming in with armloads of clothes and toiletries tumbling out of his elbows, and going “Suitcase! I knew I forgot something!” Is it for people showing up who already have suitcases? What are they supposed to do with their old ones? Are the stores for people who land at that airport and realize their suitcase was lost midflight? (I say “midflight”, like it fell off the plane.)
“What am I going to do? I lost my suitcase!… Oh, never mind. They sell suitcases right here. I’m good… Wait. These are empty.”
My wife and I are taking the kids on vacation, and we’re bringing along everything we own, apparently. How do I pack my car so it all fits?
Forget things. That’s what I do.
I’m not kidding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve showed up at my in-laws house for Shabbos without my suit, which was still sitting near my front door in a suit bag. In fact, most of my current suits were bought last minute on a Friday somewhere in Massachusetts.
But if you want to try to get everything in, you’re going to need to develop a strategy, taking into account such factors as how important it is that you see out the back window. I say that once you’re done backing out of the driveway, it’s no longer your problem.
The best strategy, probably, is to put in the bigger items first, followed by the smaller items, followed by your wife coming out of the house with her suitcase, which is the biggest item of all, which you now have to put on top of your hat, the food, and one of your kids. And then you realize you forgot to work in the stroller. It’s a lot like playing Tetris, only when you do a good job, the whole row doesn’t light up and disappear.