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Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

london
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Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

Hi

I'm off to Israel for my late summer break - I only plan to visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and possibly go North towards Haifa and visit Cesaera and other archeological sites. I just checked the FCO travel advice and noticed the restrictions on bringing laptop and cameras. I was planning to bring my mac to stay in touch with friends back in the UK, and my SLR camera obviously. The FCO says the following:

"Electrical items, including laptops, may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and either stored in the aircraft baggage hold, or returned to them in the UK. Damage may occur.

Ensure that you comply with customs regulations: if you arrive with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc) you may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure."

I don't really want any damage to my mac or SLR. Has anyone experienced this?

On a lighter note, I will be sleeping (or partying rather) in Tel Aviv and will do day trips to the other destinations. Is it best to book organised tours or travel by bus/train on my own?

Thanks!

London, United...
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1. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

There have been cases where this has happened - I know people who have had laptops posted back to them. However, this is unusual and normally only happens if they believe you have visited the Palestinian Territories and that you are 'hiding' something. I wouldn't worry about bringing your laptop and camera. But definitely make sure you have insurance.

israel
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for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
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2. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

I know the regulations exist but I doubt they are enforced. Oreets or Chana will probably clarify later. I have taken a laptop+camera on my trips and there were no questions asked.

You can take organized tours to the north - Sea of Gallili, Golan Heights, the Dead-Sea-Massada that are far from Tel Aviv soyou avoid the driving, but visiting Jerusalem (1 hour by bus) can be done on your own or joing tours there,

Israel
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for Israel
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3. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

After taking a few deep breaths and calming down a bit from my initial reaction to the question - and to the OP my reaction has nothing to do with you - it has to do with the sheer and utter nonsense that is continually put on "helpful and informative" websites - usually belonging to the British and US governments.

You have zero to worry about - I have never heard of a case of anyone having any electronic equipment taken from them. As others on this forum know - I end up spending a lot of time at the airport with people who are either arriving or departing the country and am frequently around for some of the security checks.

You can add to this my own personal experience and that of family members - MACs, laptops, I-phones, smart phones, plain phones, digital cameras - both compact and SLRs -- I can go on and on - they may be subject to inspection but that's it. You can bring them in to Israel with no problems, enjoy them here, and then take them home with you - on the plane, in your hand luggage.

london
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4. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

Thanks to all for the re-assuring answers (and Oreets I am sorry!! didn't mean to be annoying ;-)

I suspected the FCO was overcautious (which to be fair is what they have to do) but I just wanted to make sure... you know when it's about my mac... ;-)

I cannot wait to discover Tel Aviv and Israel!! it all sounds fantastic

Israel
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5. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

foubert - I did not at all mean you were annoying - I can understand your concern completely - especially about your mac :).... (my son is just the same)

Your questions are completely understandable and legitimate - may frustration is with so many of these "warnings" about what is unsafe and dangerous here - when they are way beyond just being over cautious. There is no basis for many of these scary warnings and the shame is that it scares people away from visiting and discovering this amazing country.

I am so happy you will be coming - you will indeed have a fantastic time.

Tel-Aviv
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6. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

Every tourist comes with a camera; I have never heard of one being confiscated.

If you bring the Mac you will have to carry it around with you at all times or else worry about where to leave it. Wouldn't it be easier just to go into an internet cafe occasionally to check your emails ? Of course, I am from a different generation .... :-)

If Tel-Aviv is the base for the entire vacation then you will waste a lot of time travelling. I suggest that you split your time between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The Dead Sea is easily accessible by public transport from Jerusalem. There is good train service to Haifa and Akko from Tel-Aviv.

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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7. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

I live 1/2 time in Israel. I make two trips a year. I travel on an American passport. My camera, my cellphones ( 1 Israeli, 1 American ) my MAC ( hi! fellow MAC person) my Nook ( something like a Kindle) have gone back and forth for the past 30 years ( okay, the computer for only maybe 15) I have never had a problem, I have never seen anyone near me having a problem and there has never been a problem reported on TA ( and believe me, I am sure we would have heard, if someone had had one) I also read other travel sites and again--no problems. Although in all fairness, we have had people who knew people who knew people who ---get my drift!

In terms of mbgg's concern of carrying a computer---I want my MAC, I bring my MAC and this includes when I leave my home and go to Jerusalem for a week. The computer is locked in the room with a security cable! Again, I have never heard of any problems. ( and I am retired,--young retiree :-} so I am not a youngster who some would say, of course she is attached to the computer)

Edited: 01 September 2011, 11:28
NYC/Israel
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8. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

In terms of visiting Palestinian Authority Zone, many people visit and if they all had their electronics destroyed the NGOs and the Human Rights organizations would be screaming. It is possible that the one person NJ heard about --who knows what else was on his resume!

Tel-Aviv
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9. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

My concern was also about the weight of the computer - it is a somewhat tiring to carry it around all day. Carrying one or worrying where to leave it is not something that appeals to me on my vacations, especially when there are alternatives available - internet cafes or cellphones. I don't understand why people think nowadays that they have to be available and online 24 hrs daily when on vacation, the purpose of which is to take a break (unless there are special circumstances involved).

Israel
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10. Re: Entering Israel with a Mac and Camera

Absolutely no problem to bring laptops to Israel.

People come here on business trips to high tech companies all the time, and they all bring along their laptops, netbooks, etc.