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November 23, 2015 11:34 am

Avis Refuses to Rent Car to Israeli Businessman in New York

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Avis refused to give an Israeli a rental vehicle because of his Israeli identity. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Avis refused to honor an Israeli businessman’s ID in New York City. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The Avis car rental agency refused to provide an Israeli businessman with a rental vehicle because of his Israeli identity, the New York Observer reported Sunday.

Dov Bergwerk, a senior executive at Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, said that on Friday he and his wife arrived at the Avis branch on West 76th Street and Broadway in New York City and were planning to join friends for dinner in Westchester.

Bergwerk told the Observer he has rented from Avis dozens of times before — but when he handed the agent his driver’s license, reservation number and Wizard loyalty card, the unforeseen trouble started.

According to the Observer, a reservation agent named Angelline said it was company policy not to recognize Israeli documents. Stunned, Bergwerk explained that he had rented from Avis on numerous occasions, including from that very office only two days earlier.

The branch manager, named Shamoura, sided with her reservation agent and refused to honor the reservation or recognize Bergwerk’s documents. Both the reservation agent and the branch manager refused to provide their last names, according to the Observer.

Bergwerk called the Avis main number, where a representative confirmed that the Israeli license was an acceptable form of ID and also mentioned that he could show his passport to ameliorate any ID concerns the onsite employees had.

Bergwerk told the Observer that “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. 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.”

Avis said in a statement, “Visitors to the US from other countries must provide both a valid driver’s license from their country of residence as well as either a valid International Driver’s License or passport in order to rent from Avis….So far, our ongoing investigation suggests that this customer is unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.”

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  • Elisheva Flink

    “unfairly malign”-yea,right.If Avis expects people to believe that, they’re crazy.If they don’t fire these employees without severance pay and apologize ,I say let’s start a Avis boycott!

  • shloime

    while it is possible (likely?) that an avis employee might have an anti-israel prejudice, why would a regular customer of 15 years want to “unfairly malign” the company? on balance, it sounds like avis is engaging in creative damage control. because discriminatory practices could lose them a lot of business, especially if the feds were to find them in violation and remove them as a preferred government supplier.

    if the shoe were on the other foot, and an employee had refused to rent to an arab customer, i’m sure there would be a large demonstration outside the avis offices, screaming islamophobia demanding that the employee be fired immediately.

    perhaps israelis need a lesson or two in how to be louder and more demanding?!

  • Emanuel

    So far the customers account sounds like AVIS is a criminal organization like many many other car rental companies, I wonder what other criminal activity the principals and operators might be involved in? If Bergwek had no history of renting from them including 2 days before it would be different, maybe Avis needs some exposure into their industry?