Daily Israel Report

Israel Ministry Allows Imports of iPad

Israel pressed 'restart' and reversed its ban on importing iPads after raising eyebrows worldwide. It said a 'technical review' allowed imports.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/25/2010, 4:41 PM / Last Update: 4/25/2010, 8:11 PM

The Communications Ministry has reversed its ban on importing iPads after the initial decision was criticized as anachronistic and strange worldwide. Officials said a “technical review” found that the tablet computer will not interfere with other devices.

“After intensive technical scrutiny, the device, which could be operated in various standards, will be operated in Israel according to local standards,” the ministry stated.

The Ministry of Communications said the ban was instituted earlier this week because the iPad's Wi-Fi wireless technology was built to the U.S. standard, which allows stronger signals than those allowed in Europe and Israel. "This device's wireless strengths violate Israeli law and will overpower other wireless devices in Israel," ministry spokesman Yechiel Shavi said. However, no other European countries have banned iPads. 

Last week, customs officials at Ben Gurion airport confiscated dozens of tourists’ iPads for fear their would interfere with other devices. The tourists not only had to do without their iPads but also had to pay a daily storage fee until their return home or pay for shipping the device to their homes.

Richard Doherty, a technology analyst, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying the Israeli government's decision made no sense. "If they're paranoid about the iPad then they should be paranoid about BlackBerrys and the iPhone," he said. There was even some speculation that the true reason for the ban was concern that the devices might interfere with military communications devices.