The hardest part of running any successful business in Israel is knowing how to smuggle.
Smuggling your product into Israel is not easy. Many people have been caught with Marshmallow Fluff. For success, you must be able to smuggle your products past the tax authorities.
Once you take your bags off the carousel, you have to try to real quickly . Do not look at the customs staff. If you say ‘Shalom’ to them, you are risking confiscation of your stock. Greeting people in Israel is very suspect. This technique of the ‘no look’ can also be used in the Arab shuk- to ward off people calling you their friend, the Jewish shuk- allowing you to take sunflower seeds and rugulach with no pay, and walking anywhere and bumping into people without saying ‘Excuse me.’ People do not like initiating interaction with people. Same with customs. If you force them to say ‘hello,’ they will hold that grudge and check your bags.
The smuggling operation of US items made in China must be done by fitting all products into your bag. Nothing goes on carry on, as you do not want the extra weight to carry with you on the flight. You must fit all items into a 29 inch bag, without going over 50 lbs. That is what made the SuperYad business hard to run (SuperYad is the business of a supermarket bag carrier I started, which turned into gifts). The Superyads were too bulky, limiting me to an import of 100 items a run. Even worse, it hurt my ability to smuggle in the electronics.
Be sure to use whatever non-Israeli look you can. I use a baseball hat, as that looks American. Even so, there is still a chance of getting caught as an American, as that is where the products come from. Best to look European. No Dutch person has ever been caught for smuggling. If you can get a pair of clogs, walk through customs with the wooden shoes.
Every Oleh to Israel has had practice smuggling in electronics and whiskey. If you have two or more laptops, you have already had some practice. So don’t think you do not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur in Israel.
To run the business right, you have to delegate the workload. Your main importers are family, close friends and friends of family visiting Israel. Pushing your product over the boarder in small shifts. This way each person can say, ‘I am bringing it for personal use.’
For this to work legally, you must have people who are willing to expand on the truth. ‘I am bringing it for myself, to give to David, to sell to other people, so that he will make money- which will make me happy.’ See, thus they are bringing it into Israel for their own use, and not for business. If they can, taping the products to the body also works well.
Starting a good smuggling ring in your American community is very easy. Most people are already used to bringing gifts. Thus, you tell your family to have them bring these gifts for you, to sell. They are already not telling the tax authorities that they are bringing gifts, as gifts are illegal to bring in too. At least it feels illegal to bring gifts when the security check asks you, ‘Are you bringing gifts?’ The way ask, puts the average tourist on edge; thus, accustoming them to saying they are not bringing any gifts.
I do not think that there has ever been a visitor to Israel with a gift, or an American product that they did not buy in Israel. My mother has grandchildren in Israel. For years, she has never brought them any gifts from America. But she has brought a lot of Teletubbies and Pokemon dolls for herself to use when she visits.
I have never met anybody who bought and iPad in Israel. Yet, nobody ever purchased an iPad outside of Israel. This is why we are the Holy Land. Miracles occur.
Smuggling the extra liter of alcohol is hard enough. SuperYad trafficking is a whole different league of hard. As, there is no use for your trafficking and it is very hard to find storage in your house. You could go the route of shipping them in. However, after you have paid the 500% tax and you have sold nothing, you start to realize that there is no point in your business. So, be sure you are smuggling in useful items, and not an idea for a business that I suggested to you. That is almost as bad as my giving you a stock tip.
I did get lucky recently and after seven years of storing the stuff in my room, I met a guy who also sells pointless stuff, like microwave plates. He sells this pointless stuff for a lot of money. Now I am selling the product to him for half of what it is worth, and I am in business. So you know, it is an amazing product and all three of the people that bought it, love it. It is the only conversation I have with them, whenever I pass them in a store or on the streets of Jerusalem. They make it a point to tell me, ‘I love that product…I forgot it at home again…when I used it that time I didn’t forget it, I loved it…I am thinking of getting my sister a granny-cart too.’
I was never involved in the granny-cart business, but I do hope they are enjoying the cart on wheels. I personally wouldn’t pay that much for a cart. I recently purchased one from the supermarket, for 5nis. I put the 5 shekel into the cart and took it home too.
Point is, I am almost out of gifts, and now I am going to have to start smuggling in challah covers.
-Smuggle if you want to make money.
-Always carry an extra duffle when traveling to America.
-Dress European, to get past the tax authorities. Stuff in Europe is so expensive that nobody would smuggle from there. Lack of deodorant might also have them thinking you are from Israel, and then they might check your bags.
-Do not take any business advice from David.
******David Kilimnick may be seen asking for forgiveness, this Sunday atOff The Wall Comedy Basement. Rosh Hashana Comedy Show.