nasty experience with customs in Israel

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    am looking for advice and to vent. Today I flew in from New York on a student visa with a stroller for my newborn baby. At meches they demanded I pay 4400 shekel. 1300 tax on the stroller and 3100 knas (ticket) for not declaring the stroller. In the airport there are two lanes, one green the other red. The green is for nothing to declare the red is for those with something to declare. I went on the Israel Government Website ( which clearly states that a stroller does not need to be declared for those travelling an a student or tourist visa. The stroller fits all the guidelines; it is used and portable. When I mentioned this to the Meches Guard his response was to pay the tax and then go to court. Unfortunately I am not capable of just handing over 4400 shekel as I do not carry that money around with me. They confiscated the stroller and told me to come back tomorrow with the money.

    Has anybody else had a recent experience like this?

    When will the government learn how to treat people like people?

    Why does everybody in a position of authority in this country feel the need to be nasty to all those they come in contact with?

    Does anybody have advice of what to do? Who to call? A lawyer perhaps?

    Maybe if all of us who our feeling this way yet still love this country can do something about it. This has to end.

    I appreciate all advice that will be forthcoming.

    Thank You


    I’m confused, was your baby in the stroller?

    Avi K

    So far as I know you could have paid with a credit card. Perhaps the customs agent thought htat it loked new. Unfortunately, many people try to slip things in and this has led to a feeling of an adversary relationship. Contact AACI. They have counselors who help people with these and other issues involving the Israeli system.

    BTW, the Americans are no better and even worse. I was asked suspiciously why my passport was issued in Yerushalayim and there was a case where an Israeli couple was expelled for having a picture of the Ben Ish Chai which the customs officials took to be Bin Laden.

    ED IT OR

    do not pay the tax, did they give you the receipt thingy yet? the tax will go straight in the guys back pocket

    if they have call up the airport and keep sucking up to everyone you speak to until someone tells you you are right

    if you did not get any slip them the customs guy just got himself a new buggy

    if you have know success get in touch with a really anti Israel newspaper eg: ynet, jpost. and get them to make trouble for you


    Hatzlocho Rabbah. I also had an experience with them and it was not pleasant.

    DO NOT give them any money. Its a lot harder to reclaim your money than a stroller which is sitting in an office. You will need to go back to the airport. If possible, bring your baby and a birth certificate with you when you go. (im assuming you flew separate from your wife and the baby wasnt with you.) A copy of the law you quoted in Hebrew will help you too.

    If that doesnt work, then try the other option, start a hafgana!


    As said above, get advice before paying.

    Also try janglo ( for the anglo population in Israel.


    Its amazing how careful people claim to be when it comes to such things as Kashruth , Bittul Torah , Prizus etc

    But ONCE the government says you have to pay customs , taxes and duties there is no shortage people giving advice on how to cheat the government.

    Tax evasion IS Genevah,

    Nobody likes paying taxes, but it is the law and Black Market economy is illegal for a reason


    probably obvious, but it’s worth paying a nominal sum to get a lawyer to help you, if necessary.

    zahavasdad: your post is irrelevant here. read the OP. We’re talking about the tax wrongfully demanded. Israeli customs are good at that.



    Please work on your reading comprehension. Your comments are often from left field (I say that berachamim as often it comes from a different galaxy).

    Mike said ” . I went on the Israel Government Website ( which clearly states that a stroller does not need to be declared for those travelling an a student or tourist visa. The stroller fits all the guidelines; it is used and portable. When I mentioned this to the Meches Guard his response was to pay the tax and then go to court”


    zahavasdad- Is your post relevant to the discussion on hand, or is it just your personal pet peeve? Read the original post again.

    Avi K

    Crazybrit, you are over on motzi shem ra.



    Please don’t be so quick to criticize. I may be wrong, but from reading the posts it seems that the Customs agent acted inappropriately, and the OP is just trying to rightfully get back his illegally seized property…



    Perhaps you didn’t read the OP’s original post clearly, but s/he clearly said that the government’s website said that the item in question was not subject to tax.


    are you a charedi looking male? if so, that was your first mistake. i have brought in many stollers in ver the past year without getting stopped. i am a girl though. also , i always walk very briskly thru that area without making eye contact, usually distracted on my cell phone. If you travelled with your child, then this never should have happened. if you did not, you might be out of luck. its the same reason a city mini double costs 400 in america and 800$ in chasdei shmuel.!!!


    How was Mike22 committing tax evasion and cheating,

    if he was on a student visa and if the stroller complied with the government rules?


    @zahavasdad – you’re right, but in this case (Mike22) that doesn’t seem to apply.


    If you do have to pay use an Amex card, then dispute the charge after you get your stroller back by sending Amex the link that states you don’t have to pay. I say Amex because they are the easiest to deal with when it comes to disputes.


    Zahavas dad,

    Do you not read before posting?? Mike22 specifaclly stated that he looked up all the laws and its permissible to bring in a stroller. Check the website—I did and its clearly says that its tax exempt, so before you start SPEWING please research research research!!

    ED IT OR

    avi k, what do you mean?

    is this your life job to hijack threads with stupid pointless rubbish?

    read your comment 10 times over and then go and flush it away…

    syag lechocma I need ur help


    Firstly I want to thank everyone who actually looked up the laws before absent-mindedly posting. Second it happens to be that my brother went today to the meches headquartes by the airport and after throwing a seven hour long fit they called for an emergency meeting (which lasted close to two hours to discuss if he could get the stroller–HUH??)and than they called to get the stroller inspected that its used and i did not bring it in to sell. they then demanded he put a 522 shekel deposit that hell get back when i take the stroller out of the country. he paid that figuring itll be simpler to pay 150 bucks than deal with customs. He has the entire conversation recorded and theres numerous times where you can hear the customs “agents” (i prefer liars and thiefs) contradicting themselves. He even threatened to take this story to the press which knowing him he will do but all in all at the end of the day he got it back which i owe him huge for, but this whole headache with customs is insane. Im starting to wonder if Israel is a civilized country. How does a normal person take away a stroller. Please tell me is this really normal???

    ED IT OR

    its normal in Israel!

    keep us posted, I would love to here what happens when you leave the country


    crazybrit: why are you up at 3 in the morning?!! 🙂



    You sound like you have an awesome brother 🙂

    This really is troubling to read. I dont understand how they can take away someones stroller and make such a stink about it! It sounds like you are dealing with the mafia.

    Avi K

    Crazybrit, you stated that the customs agent’s intent was to steal the stroller. I think hte whole thing is a dispute over whether the stroller is new or used. I have not seen the stroller in question so I cannot say. If Mike did not come with his baby as some posters suggested this may have aroused their suspicions that his intent was to sell it. It would certainly would have aroused mine. Unfortunately, this is very common and there are some people (yes, “frum” people) who make extra money by bringing in all sorts of things which they then sell (including things which they hold are assur such as TVs and videos).


    I agree with Mike22 one hundred percent. the israel government is notorious for randomly pulling frum people aside and harrasing them just because they are frum. there was even an article a few months back in one of the israeli newspapers discussing whether the israeli government event wants Frum people living there or if they would rather a total secular state. although taking this story to the press might be a Chillul Hashem, I believe it could make a big impact.

    ED IT OR

    avi k, I don’t wanna hijack the thread but: in your last 3 posts you wrote more l”h or avak l”h than I have ever heard.

    full capital stop


    I was in the airport at the time when this story took place. This same officer who took away this young mans stroller is the same officer that took away a stroller from a women with two children, right in front of my eyes!!!! This women started crying and put up a fight but this officer did not seem to care and continued to take it away! She walked out carrying her babby in her hand! Im sorry, but this issue must be addressed.

    moi aussi

    crazybrit, if you call Erets Yisrael “Israelistine’, you obviously think it’s a mitsva to attack frum Zionists. Go fight some of your NK buddies, and leave Avi K alone.

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