Moshe Lion detained at airport for not declaring clothing estimated at 10,000 NIS

Former mayoral candidate released after brief interrogation; accused of wrongly entering "nothing to declare" line.

Moshe Lion Jerusalem elections 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Moshe Lion Jerusalem elections 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Former Jerusalem mayoral candidate Moshe Lion was detained at Ben-Gurion Airport Monday night for not declaring thousands of shekels worth of clothing purchased while abroad, a customs official said Tuesday.
According to the official, Lion was detained shortly after he entered the green customs lane for travelers with no taxable items to declare, instead of the red lane. A subsequent inspection of his suitcases revealed he had purchased at least NIS 10,000 worth of clothing.
Following a brief interrogation he was released. The official said it will be determined in the next few days whether or not he will be charged with a crime.
Lion’s office issued a statement Tuesday defending the former candidate, deeming the incident an innocent misunderstanding.
“Moshe Lion wishes to clarify that the clothing items in question were purchased for personal use by him and his family,” it stated. “In the past, when he declared clothing items through the red lane, he was told explicitly that there was no need to do so, and that’s what he thought this time as well.”
A former spokesperson for Lion who requested anonymity dismissed the incident as “ridiculous” and questioned how such a minor offense became disseminated by the national media.
“Like every Israeli who goes abroad, he shopped and bought a number of items and brought them home with him,” the spokesperson said.
“Hundreds of Israelis are detained every day at the airport for a few minutes for minor unintended infractions. I’m amazed the media made such a big deal out of this.”
Lion lost the October 22 election to the incumbent, Nir Barkat, following a close and rancorous race.