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Amazon bringing back free shipping to Israel for orders over $65

CM 12/08/2021

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Shoppers rejoice. Global shopping giant Amazon has resumed free shipping to Israel. As of Thursday morning, purchases over $65 are eligible for free shipping to Israel.
Israelis have waited a year and a half for this moment. When Amazon began offering free shipping to Israel for orders above $49 in November 2019, setting off nothing less than a consumer revolution overnight. Because Amazon was able to sell thousands of products more inexpensively than local stores, Israelis began buying almost everything online, including clothing, electronics, food and toilet paper.
However, that all ended abruptly in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on global shipping channels and forced Amazon to cancel to benefit.
Deliveries to Israel were canceled completely during the early days of the pandemic. Later last summer, sales to Israel were restored, but with longer and more expensive shipping options. Shipping times to Israel have now returned closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Only certain items are eligible for free shipping, which are clearly marked on the site.
It has long been common for olim (immigrants to Israel) to order online and have the packages sent to a relative abroad and be picked up or delivered on an upcoming visit. For many Israelis, free delivery to their homes in Israel represents an international level of luxury.
The $65 threshold for free shipping is intentional. Currently in Israel, deliveries from overseas under $75 are exempt from customs charges. Keeping the size of an order between $65 and $75 requires shoppers to exercise a certain level of attention and savvy that Amazon has likely taken into account. The previous threshold of $49 gave shoppers more leeway to make a sport of dodging fees.
Recently, Economy Ministry proposed that Israel’s $75 VAT exemption on imports should be canceled, as it creates a competitive disadvantage for local retailers who are required to pay VAT from the first shekel. However, if such a measure is ever adopted, it would likely be years away, and would be contingent on Israel developing a simple payment mechanism for consumers and suppliers to pay customs charges, according to the Economy Ministry document. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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