A senior executive of an Israeli multinational has said that the Avis car rental company refused to supply him with a vehicle, with a worker saying that it was “company policy” not to accept Israeli drivers licenses. Avis has denied any anti-Israel attitude and said that the Israeli customer did not have the right documentation. The company also said that it would look into the allegations.
Dov Bergwerk told the New York Observer that he attempted to pick up a car from a New York branch of Avis on the night of November 21, but was told by Avis that the company would not accept his Israeli documentation. Bergwerk also said that a rental agent would not even check his reservation, despite the fact that Bergwerk told her that he had rented an Avis car using his Israeli license just two days prior.
Bergwerk is a senior vice president for Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva and says that he frequently rents cars from Avis, to the point where he even has the company’s Wizard membership card.
Bergwerk says that a manager was brought in after he had argued with the agent, but that the manager supported his employee and also refused to fulfill the reservation. Bergwerk’s call to customer service proved to be futile when the manager said that Bergwerk was being denied service because had argued about the way he was being treated in front of other customers, and not because of his Israeli documents.
Bergwerk told the Observer that he believed the employees were discriminating against him because he was Israeli.
“While no direct reference was made to being anti-Israel, that was my impression almost from the initial moment I presented my license and credit card as I have done over 15 years of business and leisure travel without ever being challenged,” he said. “The agent stated that the Israeli license did not have the required info in English. I tried to demonstrate that the license had all the required info but she and the manager had no interest. Similarly, the fact that I have had many rentals at Avis and at this location was dismissed as having been ‘done by new employees.’”
Avis responded to the claims in an email to the Observer and denied the allegation that its employees acted out of spite towards Israel.
“A customer seeking to rent a car from Avis Car Rental in Manhattan was not allowed to do so because he failed to provide the required documentation. Visitors to the US from other countries must provide both a valid drivers license from their country of residence as well as either a valid International Drivers License or passport in order to rent from Avis,” the letter read.
“We are aggressively investigating the customer’s allegations regarding the handling of this matter, as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination. So far, our ongoing investigation suggests that this customer is unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.”