Amazon reintroduces limited free shipping to Israel

Retail giant offers service on certain items for orders over $65, after ending no-cost deliveries during early months of pandemic

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Illustrative: Amazon Prime packages sit in a delivery truck. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Illustrative: Amazon Prime packages sit in a delivery truck. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Amazon has reintroduced free shipping to Israel, after withdrawing the service last year due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Free shipping is now available, but only for certain items and for orders over $65.

Shoppers can find items eligible for free shipping on Amazon’s site, and will find out about estimated delivery times during online checkout. The delivery schedule will vary depending on the items and address, Amazon said.

The orders are still subject to Israeli import taxes.

The global tech and consumer giant has had a shifting delivery policy in Israel over the last several years, and sparked some controversy.

In July of 2018, the company launched free shipping to several international destinations, including Israel, but only for a limited number of products and orders over $80.

In November 2019, it offered free shipping on orders over $49.

In March 2020, Amazon halted all shipping to Israel due to the pandemic in a blow to Israeli consumers and the postal service. It resumed limited shipping in May 2020.

The company has also come under fire for reportedly shipping some orders for free to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but not to Palestinian areas. The company instituted free shipping to Palestinian areas in the West Bank in response to criticism from the Palestinian Authority and others.

Early last year, the Israeli Postal Company was sued over claims it favored packages shipped by Amazon, causing delays to other items.

In other consumer news, Tesla is preparing to sell its more expensive, mid-size SUV, the Model Y, in Israel.

The vehicle will likely gain approval for Israel’s roadways later this year, according to a Thursday report from the Globes business daily.

The long-range Model Y will likely sell for around NIS 250,000 ($77,500).

The electric car maker is also set to deliver its S and X models to Israel, which cost NIS 500,000 ($155,000) and up.

The company is opening a charging center in Afula in northern Israel this week. There are also charging centers, which power up a battery in minutes, in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat.

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