Inspectors from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) have confiscated luxury snake and crocodile-skin kippot from a high-end Old City boutique in Jerusalem on the suspicion they were imported illegally and without the requisite permits.
Israeli law, prescribed by international treaties, forbids importing and trading items made of wild animals without their origins first being tested and approved by the INPA.
A new Judaica store in the Old City's Jewish Quarter began selling these items for thousands of shekels, and prepared to import more kippot made from the hides of exotic animals.
The inspector who arrived at the store discovered that the items in question, including both kippot and mezuzahs, were imported to Israel without a permit.
According to the inspector, the importer could have been granted the required permit upon request, but his failure to comply with the regulations led to the confiscation of all the items.There are numerous animal habitats in the world dedicated to harvesting the animals' hides or other body parts. These habitats are intended to serve as a substitute for hunting the animals in the wild, and only in cases where the local government has approved the animal products are legitimately sourced can they be imported to Israel.
"Our products are designs sent to us by an American firm. When we start regulated importing, it will naturally be coordinated with the proper authorities," said Eli Mordechai, the owner of the store.