Court blocks Uber ride-sharing in Israel

Taxi Israel

Uber must halt its ride-sharing service in Israel, a Tel Aviv judge ordered.

An Israeli court on Monday banned the worldwide ride-sharing service Uber from operating in Israel because the company uses drivers reportedly lacking proper licenses and insurances. The Uber defense was apparently insufficient to convince the court that the new company adapted its system to conform with Israeli law and administrative regulations.

Tens of thousands of people have reportedly used the service in Israel since its launch, however an anonymous "source at the Transportation Ministry" declared that anyone "boarding an Uber vehicle is a criminal - both driver and passenger".

The Tel Aviv District Court injunction will go into effect on Wednesday, according the ruling.

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Reports have suggested that the block on Uber and the position taken by Ministry of Transport and Road Safety are politically influenced, including by a rift between the head of the ministry Israel Katz and Prime Minister Netanyahu. "The service had severe restrictions on the amount of rides each driver was able to provide so that earnings would be capped to cover vehicle maintenance costs as defined by the Israel Tax Authority".

The controversy over Uber made a big splash partially due to the fact that public transportation does not run on the Jewish Sabbath (Friday evening until Saturday evening), religious holidays, and late at night.

The US firm has become a global phenomenon operating in more than 600 cities and dozens of countries, but it has faced a series of scandals and legal challenges.

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