A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Gett, an Israeli ride-sharing app, for offering a service that allegedly discriminates against Arab taxi drivers.
In Jerusalem, the company offers an option for observant Jews wishing to hail a cab that is not in use on Shabbat or Jewish holidays. The service on Gett’s app is called “Mehadrin,” a term for a stringent level of observance of Jewish dietary laws.
The lawsuit, which was filed this week, charges that the service is discriminatory against the city’s large number of Arab taxi drivers, many of whom drive on the Jewish day of rest.
“They give it a religious title. But, in fact, this is a proxy for a racist service that provides taxis with Jewish drivers,” lawyer Assaf Pink told the Guardian.
The suit is seeking over NIS 200 million ($58.5 million) in damages and was filed on behalf of 940 Arab taxi drivers, according to Channel 12 news.
On Thursday, the network aired hidden camera footage from private investigators in which a cab driver is asked about the service.
“Trash. Those motherfuckers,” the cabbie says when asked about Arab taxi drivers. “Why give an Arab that money.”
Asked what the “Mehadrin” service is, the driver responds, “it’s only Jews.”
“People don’t want to ride with the Arabs,” he says.
In another clip, a Gett employee responsible for signing up “Mehadrin” drivers in Jerusalem says the service is not really aimed at the religious public.
“Gett Mehadrin isn’t for the religious, it’s for people who don’t want an Arab driver,” he is heard saying.
The Gett representative also says there are currently no Arab drivers enlisted in the service.
“I have 1,500 Arab drivers here, not even one of them is Mehadrin… and won’t be,” he says.
The suit also questions whether such a religious requirement is necessary, as the concern for many observant Jews is over Jewish people working on Shabbat.
Gett did not provide details on how many “Mehadrin” Arab drivers there are but denied the service was discriminatory.
“Any driver, regardless of religious belief, can drive in this fleet. We believe this service is in line with relevant Israeli laws and regulations,” a Gett spokesperson told the Guardian.
Besides the company itself, the suit also names Gett CEO Dave Waiser and Gett Israel head Mark Oun.