Two Israeli women arrested at Stansted ‘after drugs discovered’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Two Israeli women arrested at Stansted ‘after drugs discovered’

Orthodox pair in their early twenties were sent home after spending five days in a UK immigration detention centre

London Stansted Airport main terminal (Wikipedia)
London Stansted Airport main terminal (Wikipedia)

Two Orthodox Israeli women were flown back to Tel Aviv on Monday after spending five days in a UK immigration detention centre after being arrested at a London airport for carrying “large quantities” of drugs.

The women, who Jewish News has decided not to name, are both in their early 20s and were stopped by Border Force officers at Stansted Airport on Thursday last week. They were arrested, sent to Yarlswood detention centre and refused bail.

Orthodox leaders from the Jewish Community Council (JCC) in London’s Stamford Hill helped secure the women’s return to Israel and later said they had been “very lucky” not to have ended up in court, warning others to think before they travel.

While the circumstances are still unclear, it is believed that the women had been promised a luxury London stay by a man in Israel if they delivered a package containing Class B drugs, understood to be khat. It is not known how the drugs managed to evade detection at Ben-Gurion Airport, their point of departure.

Orthodox leaders said the women, aged 20 and 22, were “incredibly naïve”. They warned others to check the contents of any packages they are given before flying, and to answer border guards’ questions honestly.

The Israeli women, who live in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, are believed to have lied when asked if they were carrying any packages for anyone.

They were offered a flight back to Israel on Friday, a day after they were arrested, but refused, meaning UK authorities lost money on their booked tickets and airport transfers. The next available flight was on Monday.

JCC director Levi Shapiro said: “We were pleased to help, and in the end we had a good outcome, but this case serves as a warning not to take packages to bring to the UK without checking what it contains. That’s very important, especially with the High Holy Days coming up. You must be careful and answer officers’ questions truthfully.”

He added: “These young women were asked to carry this bag by someone who offered them money and they got caught. They were lucky – very lucky – to be sent back to Israel and not to be sent to a British courthouse.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Border Force’s priority is security and all drug detections are referred to law enforcement partners to consider possible prosecution. In cases where prosecution is not pursued, foreign nationals found in possession of illegal drugs at the border can be refused entry to the UK and removed.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: