From selling a house to finding a community, making Aliyah involves big decisions and all the details in between. When it comes to shipping, you need to know the facts so you can make efficient and deliberate decisions about the future of your belongings. Be informed about important things you need to know to avoid confusion or aggravation. Here are a few popular misconceptions about shipping to Israel that might get in your way.


  1. Shipping is expensive. This could be true, but that really depends on what you’re shipping. To ship your used Ikea furniture, light fixtures, poorly made dining room set, or raggedy linens and clothes would be expensive. Why? The cost of shipping would not be worth bringing these types of items. You might as well buy new, or even used, in Israel because it will be the same or cheaper cost. But the thought that shipping, in general, is expensive is a misconception. How much would it cost to theoretically ship all your belongings as extra baggage on a flight? There aren’t many options to ship internationally and ocean freight shipping is definitely the cheapest option. There are different options/add-ons that definitely affect cost, but overall shipping what is important and worthwhile will not be more expensive than setting up your home from scratch in Israel. Read more about what is worth bringing in your shipment in our other blog posts.
  2. You can get everything you need in Israel. This is actually not a misconception, but it can be misunderstood. With misconception #1 in mind, the truth is that even though Israeli stores might sell most US or UK things, it might just be easier and cheaper to bring it with you. Small items, especially, can be packed into a box or a drawer. One Oleh listed that he brought a lot of toothpaste on his lift. Granted, he probably was talking about a time before cheap toothpaste in Israel, but you get the point. I personally have people bring me Listerine because I don’t feel like paying double or triple Costco’s price. Larger items need careful evaluation. Shipping prices are based on volume, so the bigger the item, the more it will cost. Books, kitchen appliances, and furniture can most likely be found in Israel, but you will have to pay Israeli prices. It is important to do enough research when deciding whether large items should be shipped or bought in Israel.
  3. Shipping is complicated. Shipping is only complicated if you don’t work with a reliable and professional shipping company. Either you deal with all the pieces of the picture yourself or your hire someone like Kef do to it for you. From start to finish, there is packing, crating, loading, paperwork, insurance, customs, delivery. You can choose what you do yourself and what you hire professionals for, but at the end of the day the misconception that shipping is complicated is only a possibility based on your decisions. If you do hire a company to take care of your shipment (and you), then consider the following:“Wherever a shipping company is not based, it uses a 3rd party to act on their behalf. Israeli companies use an agent at origin (e.g. in north America) for packing and a north American company uses an agent in Israel for customs clearing and delivery. Signing a contract with a company based in Israel will help you avoid surprise charges, unfamiliar agents, and lack of control at the port in Israel. If you sign a contract with an Israeli company, they have liability, responsibility, and the ability to be sued in Israel. If you use a uS company, that is not the case.”
    (Kef International’s Essential Shipping Guide)
  4.  You can ship anything. Simply put: not true. Each country has their own qualifications for what can be brought into it. Israel has a list of “forbidden items” that you can see HERE. Always find out before you purchase items to ship or pack anything if it is allowed in your container. You must also declare everything to customs, so if you’re going to bring something illegal be sure take responsibility for your decision.
  5. You can share or sell space in your container. This is a potentially dangerous misconception because it is illegal. People that have a smaller volume tend to think that to put their stuff on someone else’s lift or container is much easier and cheaper. It might be easier, but it is definitely not legal and shipping companies cannot help people arrange this. Meanwhile, there are other viable options for sending a smaller volume. You can read more about sharing space on your container here.


These misconceptions among others not listed above can make for a difficult or uneasy shipping experience. To be best equipped to make the best decisions for you and your family, it is important to do your research before making Aliyah. Being informed about the process of bringing your lift or container can make for smooth sailing. To read more very helpful info about shipping, download Kef’s easy-to-read Essential Shipping Guide.


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