Getting a package from abroad? It'll cost you at least NIS 35

This "improvement" - as described by the company - has already upset customers, especially olim.

postal biz 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
postal biz 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
If relatives from abroad mail you a "care package," or if you order a book over the Internet, you now have to pay the Israel Postal Company a service fee of at least NIS 35 per item - even if it is exempt from customs payment. The new arrangement affects all packages mailed from abroad. The Postal Company announced the change as a "new service to customers - the release of imported goods from customs." This "improvement" - as described by the company - has already upset customers, especially immigrants with ongoing connections to their families and friends outside Israel. According to spokeswoman Merav Lapidot, the new fee was necessary because of the Postal Company's change in status from a state authority to a more independent, for-profit state company. Until the Postal Company became for-profit, the Customs Authority processed imported goods without charging, Lapidot told The Jerusalem Post. But now, "as we are a company, the minimum fee is NIS 35 per package. The more work that the package requires, the more it will cost," she said. Goods costing less than $150 are not liable to customs fees, but the processing fee - formerly absorbed by the Customs Authority - must now be paid, even if the package contains used items worth less than NIS 35. The new service "improves and makes more efficient the process of the private and business customer releasing packages from customs. This service joins the basket of unique services that the Israel Postal Company supplies to its customers beyond traditional mail services," company director-general Avi Hochman said. A customs official who represents the Postal Company is on hand at Ben-Gurion Airport to process the packages "at the most attractive prices for express mail service from abroad." The state Postal Company's customs processing competes with UPS and other commercial services, and, according to Lapidot, is cheaper. The addressee must now go to his post office branch to pay the processing fee and customs (if necessary) and pick up the package.