LONDON: Local rights groups in Jerusalem have sued Israeli on-demand taxi app Gett for offering what they allege is an option designed to discriminate against Arab drivers.
Gett, which also has operations in the US and the UK, offers its users in Jerusalem a unique service called Mehadrin, which refers to the most rigorous level of Jewish standards.
The service offers users the option to choose a taxi that is not driven on the Sabbath. Palestinian Arab drivers in the city are largely Muslim or Christian, and often work on the Sabbath.
While Gett claims that it does not discriminate on the basis of religion and that drivers of any faith can register, lawyer Asaf Pink calls the Mehadrin option a “proxy for a racist service that provides taxis with Jewish drivers.”
Pink, along with the Israel Religious Action Center, sought a private investigation into the service before submitting the case, sending in undercover people posing as potential drivers.
Herzl Moshe, Gett’s Jerusalem representative, allegedly said he would never allow an Arab driver to register with the Mehadrin service.
“It’s for people who don’t want an Arab driver,” he said in comments recorded during the private investigation.
Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, claimed that religion is only being used by Gett as a cover for racial discrimination.
“Using Judaism to justify racism isn’t Jewish,” Hoffman said. “Racism by any other name smells just as foul.”
Gett insists that its policies are not discriminatory. “Any driver, regardless of religious belief, can drive in this fleet,” said a spokesperson for Gett.