Antitrust Chief Halperin Cautiously Welcomes Amazon to Israel

Halperin said she would welcome Amazon as a local e-commerce retailer on the condition that they follow local procedures

Amazon package being hoisted; picture blurrily shows man in red sweatshirt in background
MIKE SEGAR/Reuters

The antitrust commissioner, Michal Halperin, said Wednesday she would favor e-commerce giant Amazon setting up shop in Israel as a local e-commerce retailer, which she predicted would lower consumer prices in the country, but she said steps would have to be taken if Amazon curbed competition in the country.

Amazon already dispatches packages directly to customers in Israel but has no physical distribution presence of its own in the country. Earlier this month, Haaretz reported that representatives of Amazon Europe were in Israel to meet with local delivery companies about making the delivery of Amazon packages from abroad more efficient and to ship exclusively from Europe rather than from Europe and the United States.

“If Amazon comes to Israel, it will bring about a consumer revolution. I very much want Amazon in Israel. It would bring about lower prices and we would welcome its presence here,” Haperin said, in remarks at a conference at the Knesset on Wednesday about internet corporate giants and the individual citizen.

“But it’s important for me to clearly state that internet giants that want to take part in the Israeli market need to conduct themselves according to the local rules. If they harm competition in Israel and the Israeli consumer, the fact that they are global will not prevent us to taking steps against them if they violate the rules. The rules will be equally applied to global corporations and local ones.”

The Knesset’s research and information center, which sponsored the conference, released data showing the dominance global internet giants already exert in Israel. Facebook is the No. 1 social media network here, Google the search leader and its Chrome web browser also atop its field.