back to article Israel confiscates visiting iPads

If you're planning a visit to Israel, don't bring along your new iPad - the Israeli government will confiscate it at entry. So says a report in Wednesday's Haaretz, a leading Israeli news service based in Tel Aviv. According to the report, the problem is the iPad's Wi-Fi implementation - and, no, it's not because the iPad's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Windows 7 was their idea

    Let's face it they're just Apple haters...

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      Not that odd

      Most countries require equipment which includes any RF transmitting elements to comply with local regulations and this is typically demonstrated by the presence of sticker indicating the relevant compliance: CE, FCC, etc.

      Many countries don't check equipment carried by individual travellers but the Israelis may have taken the view that as they are new and sought after, iPads without the necessary channel or power constraints and corresponding approval are likely to be sold for use if allowed into the country.

      Perhaps Apple's decision to restrict iPad sales to the USA for the time being relates to issues with compliance in other markets.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Funny story....

        Back in the Eighties, a colleague had to go to Poland. He made the mistake of travelling in his Levis 501s with a spare pair in his bag. At the Polish equivalent of Customs he was stopped and told both pairs were going to be confiscated, leaving him trouserless in a very cold Warsaw winter! It turned out that Levis did not have an official import licence to Poland and 501 smuggling was big business amongst the fashion-hungry Polish youth. Anyone bringing more than a single pair into the country was assumed to be a smuggler, and it was lucky my colleague was not arrested and deported on the spot.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Slight discrepancy here?

      In this case we're talking about the import of electronic goods which are subject to local type approval before they can be sold. I'm not quite sure what would happen with iPads owned by foreigners, presumably they can just be asked not to enable WiFi, or they get confiscated until they leave again.

      Anyway, they're welcome to them. If I'm going to buy anything more Apple it'll be one of their new notebooks. I prefer a proper keyboard, and 8 hours of battery life is an 8 fold improvement on the Sony VGN-SZ I have which seems to blow most of the battery in an hour, judging by the noise mainly on making the fan run as fast as possible.. And, of course, much less concern about malware, and .. Enfin, you get the picture :-).

      However, I guess I better wait with going to Israel with that too. Not that I plan to go there, but just in case :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward

      bits of paper

      "So to extend the Israelis' reasoning, does this mean that anyone who takes their WiFi equipped mobile, laptop, etc. with them when they fly to Tel Aviv from North America can expect to have that confiscated too? I think not."

      I think not, too.

      Just the devices who's manufacturers' haven't bothered to get approval for their devices to work in that state.

      The output power is a red herring - what really counts is the bit of government paper that say its OK to use it.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    They don't allow 5GHz in Israel either...

    ... which is a royal pain in the bum if you need to buy modern wireless kit.

    1. Solomon Grundy

      Other Stuff Too

      They also don't allow a lot of radio controlled toys. I was sent there for work several years ago and tried to take my remote control helicopter. No go. To their credit they did let me send it back to the states instead of just confiscating it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An idea...

    ship all iPad's through Israel.

    Jobs - he's a wanker.

  5. The Cube

    One more good reason not to go to Israel

    As title

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Or one more reason TO go to Israel

      Fewer Apple products :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just iPads

    Passports too, if you're a British citizen.

    Gotta love our 'allies' in the Middle East.

    1. Solomon Grundy



    2. Anonymous Coward

      My first thought too...

      ... now they take your passport, *and* your smartphone/PDA.

      Next thing you know you're a murder suspect in Dubai, and someone with a dodgy grasp of English has emailed your mum at 3am to wish her a happy wedding anniversary (for plausible deniability reasons).

      Hey look what I found in this coat. A national ID card and a driving licence too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      only if it has a wireless chip in it..

      such as a contactless rfid tag?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Huhh!!! Output power too low !!!??

    "allow for lower wireless power levels than do the European standards".

    Ermm, so does the bar of soap I have in my luggage... is that going to be confiscated too???!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      big brother?

      because the wifi signal is too low to eavesdrop on.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      WTF? Indeed.

      You have WiFi enabled soap?

      You are a Geek God and no mistake.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The Communications Ministry has asked Apple to send the technological specs of the iPad in order to approve its usage in the Israeli market,"

    Explains the thing, can be approved but not without specs.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    “These guys shoot every day at unarmed people, even children.....

    Why so much surprise about a simple laptop?”

    Maybe the iPad is a good way of smuggling food aid into the Gazza strip.

    Black helicopters obviously

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "the Gazza strip"

      Is that a Tottenham Hotspur/Newcastle Utd shirt?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A similar "doesn't meet the rules" problem was encountered in some Canadian parks that wanted to use electric vehicles. A good idea right? Quiet, clean, and in keeping with the preservation spirit of the parks themselves. The ministry of transportation pulled the plug on the vehicles because they could do no more than 40 Km/h and the roads in the parks fall under the highway traffic act, which (among other things) requires that vehicles be capable of more than 40Km/h. This all sounds reasonable until you learn that the maximum speed limit in the parks is... (drum roll please)... 40 Km/h.

  11. Heikki Härkönen

    It's higher I say

    I think you made a error there. In america they allow higher transmit power on wifi.

    There's no reguired minimum transmit power on devices, they regulate the maximum.

    They could also be confiscated for allowing the use of unallowed frequency range channels. In there's a list of frequencies allowed for wifi in 5GHz band. You will notice that the frequencies for israel and usa dont match.

    My guess is that the reason for confiscation isn't power levels but illegal frequencies.

  12. jim 45

    corruption, pure and simple

    I have a dollar right here that says those iPads aren't locked up in a cabinet. They're either being sold on a black market, or handed out as perks to politicians.

    It's iGraft.

    1. Frantisek Janak

      My title here

      And I have a Czech Crown right here that says you are just being boringly troll...


    2. Chemist

      Re : corruption, pure and simple

      "I have a dollar right here that says.. "

      I bet you can get a lot more than a dollar for a speaking dollar !

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Here's an idea

    Ask visitors to turn WiFi off...

  14. Mark Eaton-Park

    I did some work for an Israeli import company

    They were paranoid about being blown up maybe control of high level RF makes it easier to track remote bomb triggers/guidence signals. Something with a GPS and WIFI is just what you need for DIY guided missile attacks

  15. Argus Tuft

    @jim 45

    or is that iVey?

  16. Sean Bailey

    The Jobs approach

    Just send the specs, not that big a deal....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems fair enough

    When a product is launched in a country its because it has been approved for that country and in that it means tested to the standard the country has. So for Israel to conviscate these devices that have not been officialy released in the country and as such not tested is a fair enough argument period.

    Seriously it realy is that simple and lets face its a device that has electronic communications capabilities -- that in itself makes there actions a no brainer.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      By that argument ...

      I need to check that every RF-enabled device I travel with complies with the regulations of the country I am going to ... sheesh! That'll take even longer than trying to book the damn airline tickets on-line!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'nuff said...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Wrong Wrong Wrong

    The author has bolloxed this up spectacularly.

    FCC max EIRP is 3.98W for point to multipoint in both the 2GHz and 5GHz bands. Most devices don't put out anything like this even with a good antenna but the point is that they are LEGALLY permitted to.

    EU (except France) max EIRP is 100mW for point to multipoint in the 2GHz bands - max EIRP is from 200mW to 2W in the 5GHz bands.

    Epic fail. Really very funny indeed.

    1. No, I will not fix your computer


      EU will cap the device, whereas US cap the power, the EU thing is simple because if you have a 100mW card, that's your limit (most are around 30mW in the EU), it doesn't matter in the EU if you slap a directional antenna on, change the beam width to 10 degrees and you have more "power", in the US however it's the combination of device and antenna, a powerful device with a low gain antenna is probably OK, but stick a 10 degree antenna on a high power device and you have a problem, it's very difficult to break the law in the UK (unless you buy your devices abroad, like the ubiquity 300mW pcmcia card, stick a 12dB directional antenna and you'll see for half a mile), in the US you have to get the calculators out (or a detector) to see if you're breaking the law.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Higher Higher

    "American standards, with which the iPad does comply, allow for lower wireless power levels than do the European standards."

    I think you might find it is the other way around...

  21. NIck Hunn

    Higher, not lower

    The U.S. allows higher Wi-Fi powers than Europe, not lower. You can transmit up to 1W, compared to 100mW in most of Europe (France excepted). However, that's probaly a red herring.

    All of Europe and many other countries require any new wireless transmitting device that works at greater than 10mW to be registered before it can be shipped. In Europe that's through the R&TTE approval process. It's generally a paperwork exercise, but it takes three months. That's something most manufacturers understand and incorproate into their product release plans. If Apple hasn't done it, it's either because it's forgotten, or not actually believed that anyone would consider the iPad worth carryign around with them.

  22. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Gazza strip?

    Is that where some fat northern footballer gets nekkid? No thanks.

  23. Martin Nicholls


    I hate Apple as much as the next guy, but less channels, less power - where's the problem?

    All it means is apple devices may ocassionally lose out because they can't tune to the right channel or maybe they have slightly less range, possibly if you ignore the fact that EU wifi environments are technically more noisy...

    I can understand the Isreali government banning it from their own purchasing, but people just bringing them in for their own use, especially as travellers?

    Also this should apply to any device with WiFi comming from the US - it should be a clear policy, all smartphones from the US are banned because they're pretty much all wifi, laptops? forget it! and so on...

    It actually doesn't make much sense, and you'd expect to see it for a European (or japanese for that matter) traveller to the US more than vice-versa, but that never happens.

    1. max allan

      Imagine the scenario

      You're a border control person. You've got no (or minimal) technical knowledge at all.

      Someone walks up to you with an electronic device and asks to pass through.

      The device has no valid type approval in your country.

      Do you :

      A - take it away (e.g. do your job)

      B - let them in with it (e.g. With no technical knowledge, you are better at deciding what should be approved than your governments official approval body)

      Common sense arguments about power levels and channels don't apply here, it's the law, if you start arguing about technical details etc,. Next thing, some bloke walks up with some random bit of kit and says "yes it's got less power than your legal limit etc..." and before you know it you'll find you've let something in the breaks all sorts of other rules that you are unaware of and causes havoc.

      I'll bet the americans aren't generally happy about allowing electronics without FCC approval to be taken into their country but get so many going through the borders it would be impossible to administer.

  24. Joe Ragosta

    Not available in Israel

    Well since iPads aren't legally available in Israel yet, the customs officials need to find some way to get them.

  25. Dick Pountain

    Not Kosher

    I have it on good authority that Apple uses pork in all its products (apple sauce, suspicious, no smoke without fire etc)

    1. Ed Gould


      IPAD's are Kosher. They have a rabbi bless them as they come off the factory line.

  26. Steve Brooks

    make mine an ipad with extra kosher please

    "Many countries don't check equipment carried by individual travellers but the Israelis may have taken the view that as they are new and sought after......" Or alternatively since they are new and sought after the Israeli security guards have decided it would look nice sitting on their coffee tables and so decided to actually enforce a rule that they normally ignore.

  27. TkH11

    Identity theft

    Sounds like this is an excuse to take people's Ipads and then hack them..and then steal their identity. Wouldn't be the first time Israel's stolen someone's identity at the point of entry is it?

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