Jan 8, 2013

Checking Tztitzis Discovers iPhones

Some guy tried to smuggle 30 iPhone 5s, worth about 150,000 NIS, inside a vest, or perhaps undershirt ("vest" is what brits call what we call undershirts), that he wore under his clothing. The "vest" was made, by his wife, to look like tzitzit, and it was made with special pockets sewn into it.

When he came in to Israel, he went through the "green line", the line where you are saying you have nothing to declare in customs. He triggered the suspicion of one of the customs agents, who stopped him for inspection, upon which the special garment with the hidden iPhones were discovered.
(source: Arutz 7)

I blame the exclusive importers for this - if they wouldn't charge ridiculous prices like 5000 NIS for an iPhone, people wouldn't have to smuggle them in. In the USA they are sold at prices starting at $200, and Walmart was even selling them recently for $129.

Just joking. The importer isn't to blame. he can charge whatever price he thinks people are willing to pay. Though he is ripping everyone off, people choose to smuggle and the smuggler alone is to blame...

When the Shulchan Aruch says that one should check his tzitzis to ensure they are kosher, it refers to one checking his own tzitzis, not the tzitzis of someone else...

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  1. A lot of money down the drain. All confiscated by customs plus fine. Or pay fine and tax and get them back.
    When is the next public auction for unclaimed and confiscated goods?

  2. In the USA, the prices are $200 for an iPhone with a 2 year contract. An unsubsidized iPhone starts for at least $650 for the new model. Given that there is also 17% tax, it makes sense for the importers to pocket a little money on each iPhone sold.

  3. And to add to what Yehuda said above, those 2 year contracts are quite expensive. Usually at least $70 per month (450 minutes plus 3GB data). In the end, your new iPhone (plus basic service for 2 years) costs $200+$70*24+$36 activation fee, or a total of $1,916 PLUS all sorts of taxes and universal access fees, etc. That's well over NIS 7000!

  4. you cant really include usage in the calculation, because you will pay for usage (granted, it is cheaper than $70 per month) in Israel too, above the 5000 NIS

    1. The only way to do a proper comparison is to include usage because for many people, the cost of the phone subsidy is buried in the usage charges. So, the only proper comparison should include the usage in both cases to see total cost. It's still slightly more expensive in Israel, but not as dramatic as the initial comment made it appear. If, for example, you have a plan that costs NIS 129/month, then over a two year period your total cost would be 5000 + 129*24, or about NIS 8000.

  5. Actually, Yehudah is correct. An iPhone without a 2 year contract, adding in tax and shipping, etc. would come to over 3,000 shekel. It doesn't sound like the importers are making an exhorbitant amount.

  6. http://thepartialview.blogspot.com/2013/01/frum-blogs-and-websites-can-get-sued.html

  7. if they were kosher phones....

  8. His wife sewed the garment specially for him. Sigh.

  9. Wait it said his mother-in-law. A family operation.


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