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iPad Ban Riles Israelis

Residents of the country say government's decision to block importation of Apple tablet was rash and unfair.

Paul McDougall

April 16, 2010

2 Min Read

Israelis are expressing frustration and outrage over their government's decision to ban importation of Apple's iPad.

"It's annoying that they didn't say anything sooner," Keren Arush told The Jerusalem Post.

Arush ordered one of Apple's new tablets for a niece's bat mitzva. "They could have anticipated that people would rush to buy them, seeing how popular they are abroad. Now I'm worried that she won't get her present," Arush told the newspaper Thursday.

Israeli officials have said the ban was imposed because the iPad's Wi-Fi connection uses a frequency that conflicts with Israeli standards for wireless networks.

"If you operate equipment in a frequency band which is different from the others that operate on that frequency band, then there will be interference," Nati Schubert, a senior official with the Israeli Communications Ministry, told the AP.

The Israel government has barred importation of the iPad and is also seizing units from tourists who attempt to enter the country with them. Israeli customs officials reportedly confiscated 10 iPads at airports Thursday from arriving travelers.

Some distributors in the country are calling the decision rash.

Israeli electronics dealers who ordered iPads from the U.S. "are either stuck with stock that nobody will buy until things clear up, or they are waiting for the devices to arrive and praying they are not confiscated at customs," Chaim Zagoury, an importer of Apple products, told the Post.

In an interview with Israel's Haaretz, Communications Ministry director Eden Bar Tal defended the ban.

"The goal is that all citizens enjoy the use of wireless networks in this country; importation of a device which is not suited to local standards is likely to cause them harm," said the director.

"We are concerned with one thing only, that no wireless technology will trample the wireless connections of other users," the director added.

The Israeli Ministry of Communications claims the iPad uses Wi-Fi signals that are more powerful than those used in their country and also across Europe.

On Wednesday, Apple announced it was delaying the introduction of the iPad to Europe but did not cite Wi-Fi compatibility problems as a factor in the decision. Rather, the company said it had simply run out of the devices due to overwhelming demand in the United States.

Apple said it sold more than 500,000 iPads during the device's first week on the market.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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