Most late model computers sold worldwide are multi-voltage. We recommend that you import them, both for quality and price. The same holds true pricewise for laptops and software. Lenovo is the best brand for notebooks, since they have excellent support in Israel, and some come with an international warranty. Two computers per family are tax-free for both new immigrants and returning residents. This includes anything built into the computer, such as a DVD, and a printer.
Any fax machines that have US or European standards institute’s (i.e. Underwriters Laboratory) can be legally imported. Tax is 31% for everyone, though you can carry one in tax free as a gift without using your rights. 110 volt models can be used with a transformer, if they are 50/60 cycles. Copy Machine. These must be 50/60 or 50 cycles. Get a multi function machine, which includes a scanner and printer.
TV’s, VCR’s, DVD’s, MAX and Camcorders
We recommend buying Tv’s in Israel.
The TV system in North America is NTSC, in Israel Pal EG. Make sure that any TV you import is multi-system, or that you get an adaptor. TV’s, whether CRT, LCD, LEDor Plasma are not worth importing. A large projection TV and an adaptor is still a bargain.
Cable TV with over 50 channels is available nearly everywhere. Hot is cable; Yes is satellite. MAX is also available, which allows you to easily program and record up to 120 hours of broadcasts.
Newer stereos — whether integrated, component, or mini — work on direct current internally. This means that they will work on a transformer without a hitch and that includes turntables, cassette decks, and CD’s. The one problem will be if you have a digital receiver. The tuning in Israel is on the even numbers, in America on the odd. You can buy a multi-tuning digital receiver. Speakers receive their power from the stereo and need no transformer.
There are three types of stereo systems: components, mini, and portable. For tax-free import, your stereo can include a turntable or compact disk, cassette player/recorder, receiver (which is a combination pre-amplifier, amplifier, and am/fm radio tuner), and two pairs of speakers—if your amplifier will play both and you bring them in with the stereo. A component system is usually a combination of better quality individual units. All component pieces may be the same brand, or each may be a different brand. They offer the best option for high quality sound.
Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer and Sharp are the most reasonably priced and widely available brands made for export. They are multi-voltage and should be checked before playing to insure that the pin located inside the cabinet is adjusted to 220V for use in Israel. There are matching mid-high-level compact discs and cassette decks. It is rare to find very high-level stereo components in the USA made for 220 volt, so those who demand quality hi-fi sound often buy 110-volt models and use them with a transformer.
A compact disk player is in the same customs category as a turntable, so you can bring either one or the other, not both, on your rights.
Boston Acoustics, Advent, and Infinity all make very good speakers for a wide range of prices. Since most speakers receive the little power they require from the amplifier, you can shop for them anywhere—not only in 220-volt stores. A great buy is the Bose satellite system, which has multiple pairs of tiny speakers for mounting on the wall and a single sub-woofer which can be placed anywhere in the room.
Though KEF, Wharfdale, and other English speakers are excellent, you may find that prices in Israel are comparable to those in the USA and less expensive than Europe. Mini-systems are ½-1/3 size versions of components. They are economical both in terms of cost and in space efficiency. Often a radio tuner, amplifier, cassette deck, and CD come as one piece.
Daewoo, Sanyo, Sharp make “boom box” units with a variety of features: detachable speakers, double auto-reverse cassette players, equalizers, compact disc players (and/or turntables), and am/fm tuners. Some are high quality and reasonably priced.
Note: When clearing a car through customs, delays are expensive. Be sure you have all your documents well in advance.
Olim have rights to bring one vehicle (car or motorcycle) from any country within 3 years of their aliya. US cars must come via the US, and European cars via Europe, Japanese car via Japan. Cars of all sizes are taxed at the same rate.
Taxes are about 77% (instead of 127-144%) of the value at origin less depreciation plus shipping. Depreciation is about 20% for the first year and 10% for each year following to a maximum of 80% after 10 years. Olim can bring cars of any age or description, but they must be able to get the local commercial importer, or a local, qualified garage to give a letter stating that they are willing to provide service and parts (not necessarily quickly or for free.) They must also have the ESP stabilization system, which is only available on cars after 2001. Olim must have acquired an Israeli license and have a valid foreign license, which they had for at least 3 years.
Returning residents who have been abroad for more than two years no longer have any rights on automobiles.
A car does not count as one of the tax-free shipments. Olim have no special reduction on hybrid cars, since everyone pays only 77%. Tourists and students pay no taxes, but tourists must take the car (and themselves) out of the country every year for 3 months. Students can keep the car, as long as they keep the status.
Worth importing: A vehicle that is not available in Israel and has features that you need, a car that you have a strong sentimental attachment to or that you feel might give the kids something familiar, very high end cars.
Because of the lower taxes, the list of appliances worth bringing is smaller than it was. Here are items still worth bringing.
- Large US appliances, if you want them and have the space from them. This includes an oven, fridge, freezer, cooktop, washer, dryer, and mixer.
- High-end appliances: All high end brands are worth bringing in, whether or not you are using tax privileges. This includes high end Miele, Dacor, Subzero, Viking, and Wolf.
- Electronics: large projection TV with adaptor for PAL, high-end stereo.
- Some small appliances: Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, etc.
- 3 Computers with accessories
- 3 Televisions
- Bicycle (NON-electric, one per person)
- Household goods
- Kitchen dishes, utensils, small appliances
- Pictures & Decorations
Permitted & taxable, according to packing list description.
- Charcoal BBQ
- Building supplies
- Camping equipment
- Fax machine (only fax)
- Gas BBQ (no longer requires a license)
- Non-household goods
- Outdoor furniture and swings
- Ping pong table
- Pool table
- Sports equipment
- Corrosive materials
- Explosives / Flammable materials
- Firearms & Hunting knives
- Gas BBQ (used)