Headed to Israel? Better leave that brand new Apple iPad behind. Earlier this week, the Israeli Communications Ministry directed the customs authority to confiscate all iPads coming into the country – effectively instituting a ban on Apple's newest device. The announcement "follows the refusal of the ministry's engineering staff to compromise on testing the device's suitability and compliance with Israeli wireless networks," reports Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Haaretz spoke to one man who had returned from the US with an iPad, only to have the device taken by customs officers. "It is forbidden to bring iPads into Israel; send it back overseas," the officers reportedly told the man, adding that he would have to apply to the government to have the iPad returned. Until then, the iPad has been shipped to a customs warehouse. Here's the official statement from the Israeli government, courtesy of Haaretz:
The iPad device sold exclusively today in the United States operates at broadcast power levels [over its WiFi modem] compatible with American standards. As the Israeli regulations in the area of WiFi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards, which permit broadcasting at lower power, therefore the broadcast levels of the device prevent approving its use in Israel.
No word on how exactly all of this is going to shake out – but the government is apparently working on getting the iPad approved in Israel.
Officials at Ben Gurion International Airport confirmed that 10 iPads had already been confiscated, Haaretz says. Earlier this month, Apple delayed international orders on the iPad until late May, citing higher-than-expected US demand for the tablet device.
As Reuters has reported, an iPad shortage has yielded a strong "gray" market for the tablet devices in the US. Third-party retailers "could soon jack up prices even more, thanks to Apple's announcement on Wednesday that iPads will not go on sale outside the United States before late May. Until then, shoppers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East who can't wait for the touchscreen device to arrive in local stores will have little choice but to pay up over the Web," Reuters notes.