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Coming to Israel – Leave Your iPad at Home

Communications Ministry officials have informed customs that the popular iPad computer is banned from Israel until further notice, and any Israeli returning with one of the computers from abroad will be compelled to turn it over to customs officials upon entering. At present, the computer is banned from Israel — even if one is willing to pay appropriate taxes in the airport.

The reason is not one surrounding security, but the WiFi abilities of the tablet computer, which enable one to bypass cellular telephone companies, using the tablet computer as an internet phone. The ministry explains that experts warn that this could interfere with other computers connecting to a wireless internet network.

To date, travelers who returned and declared the computer on the Red Line paid the appropriate taxes and was permitted to enter with the computer. Others, who tried to sneak the computer in via the Green Line at the airport were compelled to pay a NIS 650 fine before receiving the computer back from customs officials.

Beginning this week however, the rules have changed and anyone bringing an iPad will be compelled to sign it over to customs. The computer will be stored in the authority’s storehouse at a cost of NIS 50 a day, of course billed to the owner of the computer. Ministry officials are in contact with iDigital, the Apple representative in Israel, seeking the specs and other pertinent information regarding the computer towards authorizing its entry into Israel. Until the ministry okays such a move, the computers will be confiscated at the airport.

Regarding the hundreds of complaints from angry Israelis, ministry officials explain there are thousands of computers in the world today and it is the responsibility of each company and manufacturer to make certain a model is in compliance with local regulations prior to attempting to enter the Israeli marketplace. Ministry officials are referring disgruntled Israelis to Apple.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

9 Responses

  1. The claim that the IPAD causes “interference” sounds like an excuse to protect the profits of the Israeli cell phone companies.

  2. What nonsense. The iPad, from a technical point of view, is no different here than any Wifi-enabled laptop, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, Android (Google) Phone, or numerous other devices that can do VoIP through Wifi. I agree with #1 above.

  3. Focusing on the iPad is insane and giving the hi-tech country a horrible name. There are dozens of unlocked wifi capable devices (phones, pda’s, tablets, etc) with the same cell-service bypassing capabilities, many from china for around $100, that work in Israel. Tons of people (read: American bachurim) already use these to make free/cheap calls from hotspots. They can prevent this at the network level without causing such a stir in the global hi tech community – especially with the economic and political situation what it is. Just ridiculous.

  4. This is the same shtick that they did when VoIP came out. Olmert put down hard regulations because his hands were deep in Bezeq’s pocket. This is corruption 101.

  5. this is all a ploy for customs to legally steal from the people they love doing this!!!!!!!!! then again that’s what happens when you have a communist country run by a bunch of thugs and mafias!!!!!!!!!

  6. What kind of joke is this supposed to be? I’m flying in 2 weeks and was looking forward to taking my iPad with me. This makes no sense at all since every modern mobile device is built similarly with wifi. This wreaks of something unkosher – someone is being paid off

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