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Israel blocks iPad imports over Wi-Fi concerns



Israelis had to wait a long time for the local launch of the iPhone; it was late last year before the country's three cell carriers began selling it, and some estimates indicated more than 80,000 unlocked phones were already in use there. With that kind of pent-up demand for iStuff, you'd think that scores of travelers would be trying to bring their US-bought iPads to Medinat Yisrael ahead of the official launch.

Unfortunately for those would-be "ChaiPad" users in Israel, there's a problem at the gate: customs agents have been instructed to prevent iPads from entering the country. Israel's communications ministry hasn't given the iPad the necessary Wi-Fi clearance to operate domestically, although the chip in the iPad has already been used in scores of approved devices. Word of the ban hadn't made it up to the communications minister's office in advance, according to the Haaretz newspaper, and the announcement caused a hubbub. Update: Commenters point out that the iPad is already compliant with European Union regulations for wireless, and Israel uses the same standards, so there shouldn't be any technical or regulatory obstacle to using iPads there.

It may be months before iDigital, the official Israeli distributor for Apple products, has a localized version of the iPad ready for sale domestically -- especially with the worldwide delay in rollout announced this morning. A flood of US iPads making aliyah via luggage and briefcases would certainly put a crimp in future sales.

Thanks B.

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