Serving on the border between Israel and Gaza, Yahya Mahamid – an Arab Muslim soldier – writes this eyewitness account of what it is like to stare down the rioters that Hamas have encouraged to break through the border. These riots have been taking place since March 2018.
Sitting with my back to the metal barrier, I take a second to adjust my helmet when all of a sudden, I hear a loud bang against the barrier.
It has started. The weekly Friday riots on the Gaza border.
I adjust my Kevlar vest, take a breath and stand up to take a look at the other side – all while trying to keep as much of my body under cover.
I am shocked to see mothers going hand and hand with their children. Yes, these are children that are not older than 10 -13 years of age, coming to the weekly protest as if it were a normal Friday activity.
Our orders are clear. Respect human life and the purity of our arms. This is nothing new – after all it is the IDF Code of Ethics that we abide by and that’s how we always operate.
I take my sharpshooter scope and start scanning the crowds looking for anything that looks suspicious such as bombs and guns. While looking through my scope, I start smelling the familiar smell of burned tires. I know that tear gas will soon follow so I put on my gas mask and look at the madness that is assembling in front of my eyes.
The adults, who I assume are mothers and fathers, sit on the green grass hill enjoying some cold drinks and snacks, while their kids are running towards the security fence, throwing rocks and anything they can get their hands on at us soldiers.
One rock hit the barrier.
I take cover after another rock hits the barrier again. I could have sworn that these rocks travel almost as fast as my bullet. I adjust my protective glasses and take another peak; we can’t have the security barrier getting damaged. This could have disastrous ramifications.
The violence is escalating.
I stand up again to take a look at the crowd that’s growing like a hate tumor on steroids and suddenly I hear an explosion. I look through my scope again, while looking through the black and grey crowd.
I see him.
He is sitting, dressed in a large blue hoodie, looking straight at me. I take a look at him through my scope to get a closer look and he is just sitting there, looking straight at me like he’s staring into my soul. He’s not older than 10 years old.
I will never forget the look on his face, like he has a million questions on his mind, not reacting to the screams, tear gas, burned tires and the electrified atmosphere that is filled with anger.
He just sits there, looking at me like he wants to ask me “when this madness will end?”
I look at him, wave, and give him the OK sign, hoping to make my first Gazan friend.
Maybe something positive can come out of this ugliness.
He gets up and gives me an innocent smile and waves. I smile back. Another bomb follows immediately after – above us this time and we are told to retreat behind cover.
I don’t see him again, but I hope the situation will improve for both of us one day.
I call him Little Blue Hood.
About the author:
Yahya Mahamid is a former educator for Stand With Us. This self-described “Muslim Arab Zionist” currently serves in the IDF.
Obsessed with Israel, South Africa ‘Downgrades’ into the abyss of absurdity
By David E. Kaplan
While South Africa speaks of downgrading its diplomatic ties with Israel, smarter countries to its north like Sierra Leone are benefiting from Israel’s amazing technology. Since March, the Jewish State is providing school children at St. Joseph’s Girls’ School in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown with clean drinking water extracted from the air.
Sound impossible? Not for Israel where the word “impossible” is absent from the Start-Up Nation’s lexicon.
The technology comes in the form of an atmospheric water generator known as the “GEN-350,” and is produced by the Israeli company Watergen which can produce up to 900 liters of water per day.
Situated in Rishon LeZion in central Israel, Watergen was set up in 2009 by entrepreneur Arye Kohavi, a former combat reconnaissance company commander in the Israeli Army.
The technology developed by Kohavi and his cadre of engineers, uses a series of filters to purify the air. After the air is sucked in and chilled to extract its humidity, the water that forms is then treated and transformed into clean drinking water. The technology uses a plastic heat exchanger rather than an aluminum one, which helps reduce costs.
Head Above Water
So, while in 2016 when a water conference to deal with the water crisis in South Africa was nixed because of the participation of Israel – considered the world’s no. 1 expert on water management – other countries in Africa like Sierra Leone are literally ‘tapping’ into Israel’s expertise in water technology.
“Watergen is currently operating in many African countries,” said Yehuda Kaploun, president of Watergen USA, “and even more announcements about other countries in Africa using our machines and technology will be forthcoming.”
With a weight of just 800 kilograms, the GEN-350 is easily transportable and can be installed easily. The GEN-350 units are provided with an internal water-treatment system and need no infrastructure except a source of electricity in order to operate.
Watergen’s efforts to make fresh, pure water available around the globe earned the company its place on the World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s top technology pioneers in 2018.
Yet, South Africa prefers to listen to BDS that says, “Israel water technology is not unique or special; such technology is widely available through other more friendly countries.”
So where are those other counties Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation – the wording a clear misnomer – who is championing the campaign to downgrade her country’s diplomatic relations with Israel?
Rather than turn to Israel for help, will Cape Town prefer the dubious honor of becoming one of the few – if not the first – developed cities in the world to run out of water?
Would BDS SA try influence Sierra Leone to follow silly Sisulu’s lead, where water pollution in the West African country is one of the leading causes of death and which has an average life expectancy of 56 years, one of the lowest in the world. Approximately half of the population has no access to clean drinking water, and a little less than three-quarters of urban dwellers have a safe water supply available for use.
Sierra Leone’s water sources – primarily consisting of ponds, unprotected wells and freestanding water – have been contaminated by mining and chemicals used in the agricultural industry. Water-borne infections and parasites have increased the probability of Sierra Leoneans contracting diseases such as typhoid fever and Hepatitis A.
Does BDS South Africa prefer contaminated water than to being contaminated by contact with Israel?
Other than being antisemitic, BDS’s arguments – do not hold water!
There is a line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ that reads:
“Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink…”
The image is of a sailor on a becalmed ship, surrounded by salt water that he cannot drink.
Today, because of Israeli ingenuity, there is potential water everywhere.
From the remote corners of India and Vietnam, to the palm-lined streets of Miami-Dade County, Watergen is doing what was once thought unthinkable – extracting safe, inexpensive potable water from the air we breathe.
“We created a product that can really be the next major source of drinking water,” says Maxim Pasik, Executive Chairman of Rishon LeZion-based Watergen.
Fired up after his visit to Africa in mid-2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – re-elected this May 2019 – announced that year to the world from the podium of the UN when he addressed the General Assembly, about Israel transforming air into water. He was thinking specifically how Watergen’s revolutionary product could be used in various parts of Africa.
Watergen’s cutting-edge and patented GENius technology provides a low cost, abundant and renewable source of fresh and clean drinking water by extracting it directly from the atmosphere. It is a plug and drink solution, requiring only electricity and no infrastructure. The company has also sought alternative energy sources for areas with little or no electricity.
For every community size, “We can provide drinking water from the air in the most cost effective, efficient manner to produce the healthiest, and cleanest tasting drinking water,” says Pasik. The Large-Scale unit produces up to 6,000 liters of clean drinking water each day, the mid-scale GEN-350 unit up to 650 liters each day, and the Genny home unit up to 30 liters each day, all based on an average temperature of 27°C with relative humidity of 60%.
Providing fresh pure water directly from the atmosphere, “at prices that are up to ten times cheaper than local filtered well water (at developing world prices), we are talking about a game changer formany tens of millions who only have access to contaminated drinking water,” says Pasik.
Regarding rural areas where there might be no access to electricity, the company has come up with a battery-operated solution. Using a reverse osmosis process for filtration and purification, the battery-operated device has a water purification capacity of 1,200 liters a day, so it can serve villages or areas that need water in emergency situations.
With unsafe water being responsible for more death than war, Israeli ingenuity provides a lifeboat. Instead of searching below for solutions, Watergen found it above – in our atmosphere – and devised a way to ‘tap’ into this unlimited resource.
Watergen hopes to improve the quality of life of billions who suffer from poor water sanitation or accessibility to safe drinking water. “This is a humanitarian issue,” says Pasik. “We would like to maintain peace between people and save people’s lives. The project is priceless and is huge.”
Proud that “this solution comes from Israel,” he adds proudly “This is a Kiddush Hashem (Hebrew for sanctification of God’s name) and tikkun olam (Hebrew for repairing the world)”.
Which only goes to show that sometimes the solutions to problems are staring us right in the face!
Out Of Thin Air
By 2025, two-thirds of the world will face drinking water shortages.
Watergen’s systems can solve this problem and help sustain life moving forward.
If Moses brought forth water for the People of Israel in the desert by striking a stone, today’s Israelites are striking water from the air