Monday, May 22nd | 26 Iyyar 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
December 21, 2014 1:42 pm

Gifts From Americans to IDF Soldiers Stuck in Customs, Now Headed for Destruction

avatar by Dave Bender

Email a copy of "Gifts From Americans to IDF Soldiers Stuck in Customs, Now Headed for Destruction" to a friend
IDF soldier at Lebanon border fence - illustration. Photo: Dave Bender.

IDF soldier at Lebanon border fence - illustration. Photo: Dave Bender.

Hundreds of personal gear kits donated to IDF soldiers by pro-Israel groups in the United States have been stuck in customs since August, and will most likely be destroyed, Israel’s Channel. 2 News reported Sunday.

During this summer’s Operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza, concerned Israel supporters put together some 600 sets of mens’ and womens’ field toiletries kits which included, among other items, personal wipes, razors, toothbrushes, lipstick, talcum powder, bath gel, and shaving gel.

The total shipment, weighing in at some 400kg, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport in August. Since then, however, the goods have been stuck in a bureaucratic black hole.

Related coverage

May 22, 2017 3:14 pm
0

Netanyahu Lauds Trump for ‘Reassertion of American Leadership in the Middle East’

After their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump for his “reassertion...

The Libi Fund (“The Fund for Strengthening Israel’s Defense”) – an organization that collects donations for IDF soldiers locally and abroad – was asked to provide details of the products as required by the customs broker which received the goods. The organization claimed that it offered a partial list of the gear, but that customs officials required more detail – which was problematic due to the kits’ sealed packaging.

In addition, on Dec. 4th, a letter was sent to the fund warning that if a warehousing fee — which has been growing since August — amounting to over 10 thousand shekels (about $2500.00) wasn’t paid soon, the goods would be destroyed.

An official at the brokerage company made it clear that Libi must find a way to provide full details about the shipment to prevent its destruction.

“If we do not receive the proper paperwork, we will have no choice but to have the goods destroyed,” the official said, noting that while talks between the sides are ongoing, the clock is ticking.

However, the brokerage’s CEO asked for leniency. “Customs should perhaps make an exception in this case, because these are all the details Libi could provide,” he said.

Libi, for it’s part, suggested appointing an IDF officer to manually open all of the packages in order to list the exact contents.

“At the moment, I do not have the ability to present an accurate list of the equipment, including amounts,” the fund’s CEO, Lt.-Col. Raanan Simhi, said.

“We had never had a shipment to us destroyed,” Simchi said. “It’ll be an absurd situation if that happens, since this equipment is meant for combat units. I can only hope that this saga will be speedily concluded and the donations reach their intended destination.”

A source involved in the customs side of the imbroglio said that “there is no alternative to providing an accurate itemized list, and some items may require getting a stamp of approval from the Standards Institute.” However, the source expressed the hope that a senior official will intervene and release the shipment, due to the fact that it is for soldiers.

According to the Tax Authority, during Protective Edge, dozens of private donors and NGOs sent donations from around the world, both by mail and by messenger.

According to the authority, customs officials did everything possible in order to release the shipments as quickly as possible, and added that, in many cases, the goods are considered as tax-exempt donations, since they’re going to troops.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • American

    The baby killing IDF does not deserve any gifts.

  • FORTUNE

    WHY? AH! IT’S THE CROOKED CUSTOMS OFFICIALS. ACTUALLY, IT’S THE MINISTER IN CHARGE OF CUSTOMS AND ALL THIS DEPARTMENTS WORKERS WANT TO TAKE THE GOODS FOR THEMSELVES AND MAYBE SELL ON THE BLACK MARKET.

    CUSTOMS ARE KNOWN TO BE DISGUSTING AND MEAN, IT’S NOT SOMETHING NEW.

    THE MINISTER RESPONSIBLE SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY REMOVED AND MOST OF THE STAFF FIRED.

    IT’S NOT EASY TO GET SO MUCH “STUFF”. MANY US CORPS. DONATE. AND PEOPLE GIVE MANY HOURS OF MONEY, TIME AND EFFORT TO INSURE THESE PKGS GET TO ISRAEL.

    IT’S TIME FOR ISRAEL TO GET IT’S ACT TOGETHER AND FOR CUSTOMS TO GET IT RIGHT.

    OBVIOUSLY, CUSTOMS IS ANTI ISRAEL.

  • Tom Tuey

    Care Must be taken when “gifts” are handed out to
    those who are the protectors of Israel….it must be
    ascertained as to “what” is contained in personal
    use items like toothpaste, deoderants, etc…chemicals
    or even bio-weapons can be concealed therein…it
    may seem unkind to withhold such items to
    troops but, war is not kind to anyone….those who
    are responsible must do their jobs!

    • charlie johnson

      Then ,(One,) Find a solution,(Two,) Fix the problem.(Three) Provide simple instructions to post in public view on how people can help the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for those who either can not or wont.

  • Allison Celia

    It’s a very generous offer but why not buy products on the Israel, support their economy, and bypass customs. The more shipments that come in with donations, the more shipments will come in that are dangerous.

  • lucifer69

    You can blame few groups for this, the custom officials who are rigid and stiff. They dont give a hoot for theIDF, as well as the IDF who should treat the problem with custom authoroties.
    Shame to Israel for not promptly resolving this situation.

    • Penny

      And you come to your conclusion how? Do you really believe Israelis, no matter their job description “hate” the IDF. Really? You’re absurd!

  • RobiMac

    You can bet if those items were sent to any terrorist group over there, they would have cleared immediately. Looks like customs is no better than government.

  • Richard Wahl

    I think its sad that even Israeli Customs is getting over protective in this time of year.

  • American

    Stop taking our tax money, you Israeli leeches.

    • Israeli

      How long have you harbored these anti-Semitic feelings? Is it only Israeli Jews you are not fond of, or do you also make nasty comments about American Jews? And since the article is about donations from private individuals to Israeli soldiers, maybe you should look for an article that talks about foreign aid and make anti-Semitic comments there instead? If you can hold yourself back until them.

      • American

        The true Semites are the Palestinians. Why are you anti-Semitic?

      • American

        Stop taking our tax money, Israeli Leeches.

  • Ed Stack

    Customs once destroyed a similar shipment of toys and books sent to Schneider Hospital for distribution to sick children.

    The Customs people are only living up to their reputation

  • Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins

    Are these customs officials anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist? or what? An shameful situation!!

    • American

      The true Semites are the Palestinians. 🙂

  • Dany Toren

    Israeli customs officers are known for their arrogant and dismissive nature.Their attitude towards passenger arrivals stinks.They are not exactly a tourist attraction.

    • American

      The whole country sucks.

  • Rami Anaya

    After Reading this new, I wonder if these customs officers are citizen from the same country these IDF soldiers are offering their live to protect from terrorist attacks.

  • Pinchas Baram

    the IDF should clearly step in and create an ad hoc group to inspect, distribute and store these contributions. If it doesn’t it is shirking its duty. Libi has done its part; the customs people, even if they are basically shmucks, have done their part according to the letter of the law. IDF, where are you? Calling Benny Ganz and Moshe Yaalon…!

  • Josef

    It is unfortunate that you have some of the same issues with progressive liberals in government as we do in the US. G_D must have some use for them, I certainly don’t…

  • JOHN TRAIN

    outrage and firing the inept bureaucrats is the only solution.

  • Janet

    Stories like this certainly encourage future donations!

  • Beyond outrageous! I thought that it was American customs
    that was engaging in this shanda; alas, it’s our own people.
    The irony is choking me.

  • charlie johnson

    Many citizen of the USA admire the soldier of Israel .More so than the politicians and clerks in Israel.These soldiers are asked for extreme sacrifice in a strange war by an enemy who abides by few rules of civilized conduct. We who have served in our military know these soldiers give more to their nation than the get. Now we see that these clerks will destroy gifts that were sent to the best people of the nation just to comply with some stupid regulation.If it was not for the brave guys in the field of battle there would be no Israel to provide these easy high paying jobs of sitting at desk.What you are doing to your heroes is disgusting.

  • Barry

    I had a similar problem with Israeli customs. They were offensive and unhelpful. For months, we argued about why they wouldn’t allow my daughter, a resident of Israel, to be given the box that contained her great-grandmother’s embroidery just after the passing of my mother. These were important to her and of little value to any one else. UPS, who shipped the package, tried to intervene. Customs refused to bend. Although I have served as a Sar El volunteer since then, I curse the customs agents for depriving my daughter of her harmless legacy. Shame on them and their subsequent destruction of my grandmother’s work. She, my grandmother, had escaped shtetl life in Beylo-Russia.

  • 328e

    “…hope they will all fry in hell”? Really?

    That’s a bit extreme – and frankly, not terribly Jewish. (“It’s not the death of sinners that Gd seeks…”)

    I dont want to sound pretentious, but my hope is that people who do bad things – whether willfully or by accident – stop doing bad things.

  • Golum

    WTF?????? What an obomination …If I were in charge of any charitable group that was trying to send things to the Israeli’s and that happened I would cut them off!! The government is totally at fault!!!

  • Jonathan

    The comment of Amos that confiscated items are taken by Customs people is disturbing. Does Customs maintain documentation detailing how all confiscated items are destroyed?

    • Ron Blower

      Now, THERE”S an interesting line of thought…

      …OR, of an investigation!!

  • Julian Clovelley

    Some years ago I was planning a trip to Israel which I had to cancel.

    I asked a friend who often went to Tel Aviv if I needed to register the medication I was carrying for personal need. There were several prescriptions

    “just tell the customs officer they’re all for high Cholesterol” he said. “They’ll believe that”

  • Mickey Oberman

    Destroying those kits would be criminal.

    Some bureaucrats are so mindlessly subservient to rules that they lose their humanity,

  • howiej

    This is insane. In the future all those organizations sending packages should be aware that they must include lists of contents. Why doesn’t the IDF send volunteers from organizations like Sar-El to inventory the necessary items?

  • H

    This is a shunda! Israeli customs officials should just open the packaging if it’s coming from LIBI. I wish there was some other way the little men running Israeli customs could feel more powerful instead of stopping packages to support the IDF or even foreign students. Shame on the morons running Israeli customs. The point is to prevent entry of contraband or, G-d forbid, arms for terrorists, not to profit from tzedaka.

  • HaDaR

    Nothing beats a socialist system for bureaucratic absurdity.

  • Dr.M.Otero

    Over a period of some sixty years, I have noted all kinds of responses from Meches from the flexible, humane to what I thought inexplicable,
    A story from the early days was that a glove importer,to avoid taxes on imports, had a thousand right handed gloves shipped to Haifa and their pairs shipped to Tel Aviv, I leave you to guess the outcome.

  • dante

    if the law, for good reasons, requires detailed descriptions of the items imported to Israel, then, that information should be provided. that should not be a problem. someone has to be responsible for what is shipped to Israel for distribution to soldiers. if the organization responsible for the shipment cannot provide that information in this particular case, the organization’s leadership must assume absolute personal and organizational responsibility for the safety of the goods awaiting release and, in that circumstance, an exception should in this single case be made.

  • Batya Lewton

    I sent used books to the Safed English Library and they had to pay duty on the packages. Truly obscene. They need to be investigated and the policy changed.

  • HaroldT38

    This is an absolute disgrace.

  • Amos

    Customs officials in Israel are the most evil people. They get pleasure from hurting people and unfortunately the Israeli government gave them the power to do so. When they confiscate items, they never destroy them, they simply take it for themselves. I hope they will all fry in hell.

    • Mandrake

      Fully agree!

    • Rafael Manory

      I think you can say this about customs officers everywhere. They are trained to be unpleasant and nasty…and in this case also idiots.

    • Gregory Hall

      Forgive me for asking, but how do you know this? Have you experienced this first hand?

Algemeiner.com