Amazon Restores Free Shipping to Israel, but Only for Some Orders

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Packages pass through a scanner at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, August 2, 2017.
Packages pass through a scanner at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, August 2, 2017.Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP

Amazon’s free shipping to Israel is back. Starting Thursday, some products on Amazon were available to Israelis with free delivery – on orders of over $65. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon offered free delivery to Israel for orders of $49 and up.

For now, the products are mostly tech items, and it is not clear yet whether this is the first step in a gradual return to the old policy.

In May, Haaretz reported that Amazon was considering whether to bring back the free shipping. The company was also looking for other ways to improve service to Israeli customers, and since May delivery times have been cut to a week or two, similar to the shipping times before the pandemic.

The news were welcomed by Benny Buchnik, an expert in online shopping and the manager of the I Need It! Facebook group. “The cancellation of the free shipping offer was one of the first things that brought down the ax at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. We waited for a long time for the return of the deal, and its return symbolizes a return to normalcy in shipping costs – which have already reached levels of six to seven times compared to the period before the coronavirus.”

In November 2019, after months of speculation, Amazon launched a Hebrew-language website adapted for Israelis where it was possible to view prices and make purchases in shekels, and offered free shipping to Israel for orders of over $49 dollars. The offer was a big hit with Israeli consumers, but with the outbreak of the pandemic, Amazon cut back the service in countries where it does not operate its own warehouses and logistical centers – such as Israel – and delivery to Israel was halted for three months, from March to June 2020.

In June 2020 Amazon brought back delivery to Israel – but at a much higher price than before, and the shipping times lengthened to three weeks to a month, and sometimes even longer.

Amazon is one of the three most popular shopping sites among Israelis, after the Chinese sites Ali Express and Shein, according to a survey conducted in January by the market research website Shiluv iR2 along with the Israel Post company.

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