Thinking of buying an iPad abroad? Better think twice. From now on, iPads will not be allowed into Israel. The Communications Ministry issued an order to Customs not to release iPads into Israel until the machine is coordinated with local Wi-Fi regulations.
Up until Monday, Israelis could cross the border freely with iPads in hand. Previously, the Customs policy was to demand Israelis who purchased iPads abroad to pay VAT upon entering the country. However, a new prohibition took effect Tuesday because Apple's new computer apparently isn't compatible with Israel's Wi-Fi.
The Communications Ministry claims that the computer, configured with US Wi-Fi settings that use up significant resources, will place a strain on the wireless internet in Israel, which runs on a different standard. Even though there is an iPad model suitable for use in Israel, the ministry issued an all-encompassing order not to allow any such computer into the country.
However, there was no official statement to the public communicating the new regulation. As such, many travelers are currently being stopped in Customs after having purchased an iPad for between $500-700 because they didn't know they would be forbidden for use in Israel. Those whose computers are being held up in Customs for more than 48 hours will have to pay for storage of their goods on top of whatever charges may be decided upon later.
As a solution, Customs offered to passengers whose iPads have been held up to sell them via a salesperson flying abroad. To this end, passengers would be responsible for finding someone flying abroad, producing plane tickets proving their flight. Customs would then bring the computer aboard the plane to the salesperson since they are not allowed to release the computers in Israel.
The chief customs collection office confirmed to Ynet that a new order indeed has been put in place at the behest of the Communications Ministry and that no iPads are being allowed into Israel.
Apparently, whoever brings an iPad into Israel is breaking the law as official importers must wait until Apple issues an iPad compatible with Israel's Wi-Fi standard.