Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israelis Smuggle Viagra and Cell Phones: Report

Israelis’ favorite goods to smuggle last year were cell phones, Viagra and fake brand-name clothes, said the customs authorities at Ben-Gurion International Airport in their annual report. Customs caught people smuggling undeclared goods 10,082 times last year – up from 9,850 in 2010. Taxes on these goods totaled NIS 80 million.

The most popular cell phones were the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy SII. Of the thousands of phones confiscated, most were caught in packages, not actually on travelers. However, agents recalled one woman in her 60s caught hiding 44 iPhones in her stockings. Another person, a 22-year-old customer-retention team leader at cell phone company Pelephone, was caught with eight iPhones taped to his body.

Customs inaugurated its body scanner in 2010. Last year, the machine caught people trying to smuggle counterfeit medications, gold jewelry, diamonds, drugs and cash, said Rafi Gabay, head of customs at the airport.

And then there were the more unusual catches. A man flying in from Brussels was caught with eight red siskins, a type of rare bird. The birds were in plastic containers on his body. Many attempts to smuggle goods through delivery services involved fake brand-name clothing and cell-phone accessories. Agents also found a kit for breaking into vehicles.

Last year also was a record one for ecstasy-smuggling attempts. Agents caught 140 shipments of the illegal drug, mostly via delivery but also on passengers. One particularly creative man flying in from Bangkok hid the pills inside picture frames displaying pictures of the Thai king.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.