Amazon Launches Israel Operations Just in Time for High Holy Day Season

Products from local merchants available as of Sunday, while Hebrew-language version still to come

Amazon's Israel site.

Amazon launched its long-anticipated shipping operations in Israel Sunday, just as the High Holy Day gift-buying season gets under way.

Although not fully implemented because the Hebrew-language site is not yet up, Amazon’s Local Delivery service enables Israeli retailers and makers to sell to local shoppers. The full service will be rolled out within weeks.

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The U.S. online retail giant first scheduled the launch for September 18, but postponed it due to the election.

In recent days, customers have been able to enter the Amazon site with an Israeli address where they see a banner addressed to Israeli customers saying “Amazon ships more than 45 million products from the United States to Israel.”

Among the Israeli businesses selling on the local Amazon site are Adika (online fashion retailer), Laline (soaps and cosmetics), Electra and Newpan (appliances) and Gottex (swimsuits). Newpan has launched a concept store exclusively on Amazon that sells products not available until now in Israel.

At this stage, Amazon has no plans to open a logistics center in Israel, meaning its entry into the local market is only partial. That means Amazon doesn’t apply products in Israel directly to consumers but serves mainly as a platform for others,

Amazon calls this system Fulfillment by Merchant. The seller is responsible for supplying the merchandise as well as handling returns and other issues, but in accordance with Amazon policies. That’s in contrast with Fulfillment by Amazon, where the company itself handles the entire process.

Local vendors commit to five-day delivery. Amazon recommends they offer free delivery competitive prices, The more a merchants meets its recommendations, the better its placement on the Amazon site.