Etrogim that are brought into Israel are required to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and the taxes on them must be paid. However, customs employees at Ben Gurion Airport were stunned when they found more than 300 Etrogim without a government permit and on which taxes hadn’t been paid. The Etrogim were found in the possession of an Israeli couple who had arrived in Israel on a flight from Paris.
The Etrogim were found as part of a special blitz conducted by customs officials during the period around Rosh Hashanah, aimed at cracking down on individuals who pass through customs without declaring the goods they are carrying.
As is customary in many airports around the world, Ben Gurion Airport has red and green customs paths. Passengers with goods to declare are expected to go through the red path, while passengers with nothing to declare may go through the green path.
During the blitz, many passengers who had gone through the green path were stopped for a spot check. Thus, the 300 Etrogim were caught and confiscated by customs officials. An investigation has been opened against the couple.
A variety of undeclared goods were also caught during the blitz, including iPads, iPhones, jewelry, medicine, cigarette cartons, and even 200 Shofarot found in the possession of a manufacturer who claimed they were intended for a religious center in Israel.