Apple iPads Unwelcome in Israel due to Wi-Fi Concerns

Think twice about traveling to Israel with an Apple iPad tablet. iPads are being confiscated from travelers and import shipments are being held at customs. It seems there's a problem with Wi-Fi interference. In IT Blogwatch , bloggers make lame puns about stone tablets.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention remixing the Streamys...

Shalom, Bar Ben Ari and Zohar Blumenkrantz:

The [Israeli] Communications Ministry has blocked the import of iPads ... and the customs authority has been directed to confiscate them. ... Following the refusal of the ministry's engineering staff to compromise on testing the device. ... Ministry officials say its wireless technology is not compatible with Israeli standards.
...


An Israeli who returned from the U.S. ... [said] when he tried to declare his new iPad at customs, it was confiscated. ... He says the device is in a customs warehouse, and he is being charged for every day it remains there. ... Customs at Ben-Gurion International Airport said yesterday they have confiscated 10 iPads. MORE

Jared Newman adds:

Tourists who bring their iPads ... will have to get them back when they leave. ... (I have a feeling that won't be as simple as it sounds.)... The ministry is now working with Apple and local distributor iDigital to approve the import of iPads into the country.
...
Ministry director Eden Bar Tal ... reserved some harsh words for people who thought they had the right to bring whatever technology they wanted ... "People who bought the device in America can't force their needs on other people." MORE

Ryan Fleming remembers that Israel has form :

This isn’t the first time Israel has closed its doors to technology it has deemed to cause problems. In 2003, Israel suspended purchases of Microsoft products after becoming unhappy with Microsoft’s pricing.
...
The decision is simply a precaution. ... Israel and Europe do not allow Wi-Fi broadcasting at as high a power level. ... Israel’s concern is that the iPad could consume too much bandwidth and throw off other wireless devices as well as bog down existing networks. MORE

And RichMan adds :

5Ghz is where a lot of military radar like stuff operates. In particular Israel has specific ... restrictions. ... 5.5Gz up is a not supposed to be used in Israel, but is open for use in US, Japan and Europe. MORE

But Aharon Etengoff doesn't buy it:

Sounds reasonable? Perhaps to the uninitiated. But not to this cynical journalist.
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Apple's Israeli distributor, iDigital, is run by Chemi Peres, the hyper-entrepreneurial son of Israeli President Shimon Peres. ... [Until] a modified European version of the iPad is approved for import ... iDigital can't make money off the slow trickle of iPads entering the country via private citizens, tourists and international businessmen. ... [So] no iPad for you! MORE

Jason D. O'Grady has new testimony:

I mailed his iPad [to Jerusalem] ... and put “eBook reader” on the customs form. ... 5 days later I received notice that the iPad had arrived in Israel, but that it was being delayed. ... Shaul emailed me that Israeli customs wanted to levy a fine on the iPad because it was an “eBook” ... Finally today, 12 days later, I received an exasperated email from Shaul that his iPad had safely arrived.
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Wow. Just wow. ... He’s optimistic that Israel will be included in the first wave of countries outside the U.S. to get the iPad. I know of at least one really happy (and lucky) iPad user in Israel.. MORE

Meanwhile, whisper_jeff offers this conspiracy theory :

Is it coincidence that iPads are being "confiscated" shortly after Apple announced the international launch of the iPad was being delayed? MORE

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment .


And finally...

Magical Streamys Remix

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij 's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com .

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