Customs Guidelines
Appliances - Pros and Cons of Import from North America
Updated: January 2009
Olim are eligible to import up to three shipments (‘lifts’) containing reasonable quantities of household goods for personal use. Changes in the law, approved in May 2004 have cancelled the requirement that the shipment be made from the Oleh's country of origin. Olim can now bring in their shipments from any country. If you buy these in Israel full import taxes must be paid – unless you use a personal importer (who imports in your name). If you buy Israeli-made appliances in Israel, you must shop at specific stores in order to qualify for tax exemptions.
If you wish to bring any or all of the electrical appliances that Israel does not produce (video, microwave, clothes dryer, stereo/CD) you may now import them from any country. Please note that in Israel electric current is 220 volts, as compared to 110 in North America. Motors on Israeli appliances operate at 50 hertz (cycles per second) as compared to 60 hertz in North America. 
Even when Israel-manufactured appliances are available, many Olim choose to import from North America. Some of the considerations:
  • Longevity:  North American appliances often last longer.
  • Familiar Features & Styling, for example: Fahrenheit ovens, self-cleaning feature; side by side refrigerators with ice cube makers and built in cold water dispenser, larger washing machine capacity, shorter wash cycle.
  • Size:  Americans frequently prefer big ovens, refrigerators, washers, dryers and freezers. Israeli and European made appliances are usually smaller. Israeli washers handle 4-6 kg. of laundry, American washers 8-10 kg.
  • Value:  The larger American appliances are worth more in Israel than the Israeli-made.   Their resale value is much higher (after five years during which these items are for the Oleh’s personal use only).
  • Shipping Costs & Appliance Costs:  Because of the new lower taxes, the list of appliances that was once worth bringing to Israel is more limited. One can find many small electrical items at very reasonable prices in Israel. Items still worth shipping are the big American appliances (if they can fit into your home in Israel) such as washer, dryer, fridge, freezer. Note: where shipping is charged by volume, the more you ship the cheaper the cost per individual item.
  • Cost:  As mentioned above, it is always advisable to shop around and worthwhile comparing prices.
  • The cost of replacement parts for American appliances is generally much higher than parts for Israeli made appliances, though most appliances come with service contracts that include parts and labor.
  • You can purchase refrigerators and air conditioners manufactured in Israel. There are also many European appliances that are competitively priced and not necessarily worth importing.
  • Some major appliances from North America may not fit into the space allotted for them in standard Israeli apartments.
  • Electrical capacity: Check whether your apartment has triple-phase electricity if you are bringing many electric appliances, especially an electric dryer.
  • Furniture: Most Israeli apartments are small and standard furniture bought in Israel is often more suitable. Many Olim do ship specialty pieces such as convertible sofa beds, lazy boy chairs, folding chairs and tables, mattresses, etc. dining room table and chairs, wall units, closets and cupboards can be usually purchased in Israel to fit the available space. There is no longer tax exemption on Israeli made furniture.
  • Heaters: It is preferable to buy heaters in Israel, to fit the local systems.
  • Small household items: These are generally cheaper abroad and do not require excessive lift space: pots, pans, dishes, towels, sheets, linen, small appliances, etc.
  • Building materials: Such as walls, wallpaper, sinks, etc. are NOT tax-free.
  • Computers: Olim are exempt from tax on a personal computer including: computer unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer. Desktops are comparably priced in Israel, while laptops are more expensive in Israel. If you bring a computer with you, you must declare it at Customs (red channel) upon arrival at the airport. For further information, please see AACI's information sheet: 'Bringing in a Computer'.
  • Blenders: You can bring one of the following: a blender, food processor and electric mixer plus attachments. If a blender is one of the attachments, then you can bring in all three.
  • Ovens: You are entitled to a cooking oven, (built-in or free standing, single or double) as well as a microwave and toaster oven.
  • TV/Video/Radio/Stereo: You are entitled to bring in the following items tax free: one clock radio, one portable radio or a portable boom box with a CD, one radio/tuner as part of your big stereo system, one TV (any size), a VCR or DVD, video camera/camcorder. For a stereo you can bring: up to two sets of speakers if your amplifier will play both sets at the same time (or a complete home theatre speaker package), a cassette deck, a turntable or a compact disc, and a receiver (or a separate amplifier and tuner).
  • Dishwasher: You are entitled to bring in one dishwasher only, but you are permitted to bring in a second set of racks for separate milk and meat dishes.
AACI wishes to thank KEF International for help compiling this information. To receive a longer version contact and/or visit
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