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Israel confiscates visiting iPads

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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 Wi-Fi has been giving early-adopters so much trouble.

What concerns engineers working in the Israeli Ministry of Communications, according to Haaretz, is that the iPad's "wireless technology is not compatible with Israeli standards."

The Israeli wireless standards match those of European standards. American standards, with which the iPad does comply, allow for lower wireless power levels than do the European standards. Because of this, Haaretz quotes unnamed ministry officials as saying, "the broadcast levels of the [iPad] prevent approving its use in Israel."

An Israeli who tried to bring his iPad back from the US on Tuesday told the Haaretz's business division, TheMarker, that when he tried to declare it at Israeli customs it was confiscated, and he was directed to contact the Ministry of Communications if he wanted it back. The Ministry told him, according to Haaretz: "It is forbidden to bring iPads into Israel; send it back overseas."

Haaretz also reported that the customs chief at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport said that his staff bagged 10 iPads on Tuesday, taking them even from users who offered to pay the required VAT.

The iPad, however, is not being singled out for unusual treatment. As one person familiar with the matter told The Reg: "This isn't the first time that this has happened in Israel - this has happened with other devices as well."

Daniel Morgan, the director of public affairs at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco, was more specific, telling The Reg: "All new electronic technology that enters Israel is subject to regulation approval, just as in European and many other countries. The Communications Ministry has asked Apple to send the technological specs of the iPad in order to approve its usage in the Israeli market, and any iPads that were held before entering Israel will be returned to their owners."

Apple and Israel had better come to an agreement in 90 days, seeing as how the iPad will go on sale internationally at the end of May. ®

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