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Israelis Freak Out Over iPad Ban

Local techies see the device as akin to food, shelter

Hadara Graubart
April 21, 2010
(David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images)
(David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images)

A lot of people are really pissed off by Israel’s iPad ban, although we ourselves are kind of excited that it occasioned this sentence, from Time: “Not since Adam and Eve has the appearance of an Apple in the Holy Land caused such uproar.” One El-Al stewardess who had her device confiscated may have been overstating the case when she said, “I feel as though I live in a fourth-world country,” as though being deprived of a computer that doesn’t even have a keyboard were akin to scrabbling for berries in the jungle.

Israel’s stated reason for the ban is that the iPad “does not conform to the European standards used in Israel.” A technology attorney put it well, calling the excuse “really annoying. It was a nonsense explanation.” Some have speculated that the real cause might be the protection of the monopoly of iDigital, “Apple’s sole official Israeli importer,” owned by President Shimon Peres’s son, or concern that the fancy computer might interfere with military frequencies.

One techie fears ominous implications: “Now it’s the iPad. What’s next?” The way we see it, Israel is just protecting its citizens from the early adopter curse, as defined by Rob Walker in the New York Times Magazine: “What these people are likely to get for their consumption daring is a chance to experience every single glitch or flaw that will be tweaked and patched in the months ahead. Also the guarantee that they’re paying full price.”

Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.

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