Wi-Fi Donkey Brings New Tech to an Old World

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Menachem Goldberg / Kfar Kerem's General Manager

Have you been called an ass for spending too much time on the Internet during a summer vacation?

You can find more of your kind at an Israeli theme park where, for the past four days, a donkey carrying a Wi-Fi router has been providing visitors with wireless Internet access.

Kfar Kedem — the “Galilean version of Colonial Williamsburg,” according to the Times of Israel —  shows tourists what life was like in Galilee 2,000 years ago. Visitors learn how to milk a goat, make traditional foods like bread and goat cheese, press olives and grapes to make olive oil and wine, and ride donkeys up and down hills.

(MORE: ‘Homeless Hotspots’ Debut at South by Southwest to Online Uproar)

Menachem Goldberg, the park’s general manager, said tourists asked for Wi-Fi because they wanted to share photos and videos of their adventures with friends and family back home via email and Facebook — especially if they don’t have cellular service on their trip. There’s Internet in the visitor’s center, but until now there was no way to provide access on the outdoor trails. So Goldberg put a Wi-Fi router in the pocket of one donkey’s saddle, right on its nape, and that donkey can now support five to seven people browsing the Web.

Menachem Goldberg / Kfar Kerem’s general manager

“If you want to surf, be very close to this donkey,” Goldberg told Techland in a telephone interview.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen zany Wi-Fi workarounds this year. In March, there were homeless people sporting routers during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. And in May, we wrote about web portal Terra’s method of turning dog business into free Wi-Fi.

Goldberg hopes the “Wi-Fi Donkey” will help people better understand where they came from.

“We’re mixing this ancient vehicle and the newest gadget to provide [Internet] in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “Galilee is very important to Jews and Christians, and people come here with very modern technology like iPads, cameras, and computers in order to find their roots. We are giving them an opportunity to connect with the past.”

So what’s in it for the donkeys?

“Well, if more people come to visit, then we’ll have more money to feed them,” Goldberg said. “Maybe we could give them sweets, and people could feed the donkeys candy.”

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